FPL vote a win for the consumer, Crist saysby Dara Kam | January 14th, 2010
Gov. Charlie Crist took credit for the Public Service Commission’s unanimous decision yesterday to grant FPL a $75 million-a-year rate hike, just a fraction of $1.2 billion the Juno Beach-based utility had sought.
Crist revamped the panel with two new appointments, Commissioners David Klement and Benjamin “Steve” Stevens,” late last year and appointed Chairwoman Nancy Argenziano and Nathan Skop in 2007. Crist’s appointments were intended to create a more consumer-friendly commission that in previous years when PSC votes were considered to lean more toward the utilities it regulates.
Asked if he had an impact on yesterday’s vote, Crist said: “It’s fairly obvious, isn’t it?”
The FPL decision came on the heels of a vote Monday in which the PSC denied Progress Energy Florida’s $500 million rate hike request and ordered them to repay $23 million in depreciation costs to consumers.
Crist last year effectively fired two commissioners by not reappointing them and the PSC delayed votes on the issues until the new commissioners took office this month.
Crist dismissed Florida Power & Light Co. President Armando Olivera’s assertion that the PSC vote will cost the state 20,000 new jobs from projects it is now putting on hold.
“Well we certainly don’t hope for that. I don’t think that’s going to be the case. I think that what happened is the Public Service Commission is an independent body that has a duty to perform their job. I think they did exactly that,” Crist said.