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FPL vote a win for the consumer, Crist says

by 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.

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14 Responses to “FPL vote a win for the consumer, Crist says”

  1. Mike Says:

    Just goes to show how little Crist knows. The PSC is not independent, Crist appointed people who think like him!!!

    I am sure that the voters that have or will now lose their jobs and the consumers who’s electric will become less reliable will remember this at election time!!!

  2. Mike Says:

    So the PSC has given Progress Energy the ability to have 10.5% profit but only gave FPL 10.0%? How is this legal or fair to give one company an advantage over another? Also, FPL has announced the immediate halt of all major projects and are meeting with employees Friday to announce any information about layoffs. FPL has been downgraded from buy to sell and the stock is down. Lost jobs, investors and reliability and you Charlie Crist say this is good????????????

  3. Fred Jones Says:

    Independent? Crist hired 2 people with clear instructions to disallow any increase by any utility. I’m not sure how that is anything other than politically motivated puppet mastering.

    Most people would love to see some logic behind the PSC findings, but no one should be shocked. Crist made it clear he’d stock up with proxy PSC members. A bar owner understands the economics of the utility business? Really? Nice job of equity. I hope you make other decisions regarding our state with better means. No confidence you’re looking out for what’s best for the state. Only for CCrist.

  4. Bill Newton - Florida Consumer Action Network Says:

    What Crist seems to understand, and what his appointees get, is that people can’t afford rate hikes right now and we can’t afford gold plated nuke plants. What people need is energy efficiency solutions that save money. That money will create jobs.

    Yes, some jobs may be lost, and we regret that, but, on balance, it was the right decision and is better for the economy in the long run.

  5. Mike Says:

    Bill, please tell us how the loss of jobs, investors and reliability are “good for the economy in the long run”. They were building for our future not for today. In a few years when you realize that we need that additional power you will find out that it will take five years to get it. You don’t get permits and build power plants overnight!

  6. Fred Jones Says:

    Bill, when gas hit $145/barrel, people were ranting about the lack of nuclear power, since Europe and Asia are much more progressive in that area. Nukes don’t get built in a year. It takes time. It’s not gold plating. It takes time & money, and it has to start sometime. So while your PSC stalls Florida utilities, other states will be less vindictive & more forward thinking, and build nukes. Our state once again looks silly, by the mindless decisions by the PSC. A bar owner is an expert? Or does merely following Crist’s directives quality him. If so, hire some unemployed person. I’m sure someone with no job could still follow Crist’s lead. I bet they’d be willing to work for a lot less.

    By the way, is Crist keeping his salary flat for his term?

  7. Tweets that mention FPL vote a win for the consumer, Crist says | Post on Politics -- Topsy.com Says:

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  8. Chambliss Skips Unemployment Vote | File For Benefits Says:

    [...] FPL vote a win for the consumer, Crist says | Post on Politics [...]

  9. Betty Says:

    Wow, C.Crist sure has lost it! Mike is right, no one realizes the full extent of this ruling. I wonder how old Charlie will feel after the next major storm hits and power is not restored as quickly due to lack of employees to do the work. Bill Newton, you my friend are a moron! Lose more jobs, oh well, expected and what ya gonna do? Florida is a mess, just what we need more job loss. You should be ashamed and embarrassed for your comment. I presume you have not had to deal with any such loss or cut. Lucky you. PSC got it wrong this time, very wrong. While I do not relish higher utility bills, I would rather pay alittle more and feel certain my power will be restored in timely fashion should we be faced with God forbid another hurricane!

  10. Lisa Says:

    I work in the energy industry and unfortunately we as a nation are sliding down a path that I predicted more than 5 years ago. It is going to take a major energy crisis in which hundreds if not thousands of people die before politicians and citizens support coherent long-term energy policy. And by then it will take a while to catch up. The California heat wave in 2006 in which 60 people died wasn’t enough. The huge blackout in the Northeast that was partially a result of postponed investments in transmission upgrades wasn’t enough.

    The worst of it is, such a catastrophe will hit the poor, the elderly and the homeless the hardest. Those of us that can afford generators will be inconvenienced by brownouts and blackouts but we’ll make do.

    And for the fellow that said all we need is energy efficiency, I say take a very close look at California. There but for divine intervention go we.

  11. Time for a change Says:

    Goodbye Charlie you just didnt get it.

    Too cozy with the insurance companies but loses thousands of jobs because he wants to be a good consumer.

    The State is tanking – hopefully we can replace you before you make it any worse.

  12. Brad Thomas Says:

    A lot of you are making this more complicated than it is. I worked for FPL contractors for 12 years. Yep, WORKED. Got layed off because FPL won’t put out any work because they didn’t get the increase. I did work for them and am a customer so I get to hate them more than most, but they were my source of income.

    They did not get the increase for 2 basic reasons. FPL is arrogant and Crist wants Senate votes. Crist put in commissioners that would do what he wanted them to. FPL was completely arrogant throughout the entire process.

    20K jobs was a smoke screen . . .but I lost mine. THANKS CHARLIE!

  13. Utility regulators approve buck-a-month rate hike for FPL customers | Post on Politics Says:

    [...] PSC earlier this month approved a $75 million rate hike for the state’s largest utility that serves about 4 million customers. That was just a sliver [...]

  14. Utility regulators approve buck-a-month rate hike for FPL customers « South Florida Tea Party Says:

    [...] PSC earlier this month approved a $75 million rate hike for the state’s largest utility that serves about 4 million customers. That was just a sliver [...]

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