More PSC sniping as FPL pipeline decision nearsby Dara Kam | October 6th, 2009
Here’s the latest installment in the seemingly perpetual Public Service Commission drama.
Sen. Mike Fasano today shot back at Associated Industries of Florida president Barney Bishop who yesterday publicly accused Fasano of interfering in the utility regulators’ business as the PSC considers three cases that could collectively cost Floridians up to $3 billion a year in extra energy costs.
Fasano yesterday asked Commissioner Lisa Edgar to resign because of an ethics complaint about her communicating with an FPL executive during a hearing. The ethics commission found no probable cause that Edgar, reappointed by Gov. Charlie Crist to the PSC last year, did anything wrong.
AIF supports Florida Power & Light Co.’s proposed $1.3 billion rate hike, and yesterday evening Bishop called out Fasano by name for trying to influence the outcome of that case and a proposed $500 million Progress Energy Florida rate increase.
“Any attempt by anyone to influence “due process”, whether they are an elected official or not, is inappropriate,” Bishop said in a statement.
That got to Fasano, who issued a statement demanding his own due process.
“Barney Bishop is a highly paid representative for utility companies throughout Florida. Mr. Bishop states that I am interfering in the due process that Progress Energy and Florida Power & Light are entitled to as the Florida Public Service Commission considers billion dollar rate increase requests. As anyone versed in the most elemental aspects of law should know, due process entitles one to face his or her accuser. Since Mr. Bishop, and Associated Industries of Florida, has stated that my involvement in this case is inappropriate, I challenge Mr. Bishop to publicly debate me on this issue,” Fasano, R-New Port Richey, wrote.
“Mr. Bishop, as a spokesman and advocate for the utilities, is hardly an unbiased witness. This fact begs the question; what is his own standing to accuse me of interfering in this process?” Fasano, a member of the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee that confirms PSC nominees, went on.
Fasano has been an outspoken critic of the PSC as allegations that the panelists and their staff are too cozy with the utilities they regulate and other accusations overshadow the cases they are currently hearing.
“The people of Florida deserve no less than the opportunity to hear why Mr. Bishop and AIF, believe that the consumers do not need someone such as myself, or any other elected official, speaking out on behalf of utility customers from all corners of the state,” Fasano’s statement ends.