Power to the People
As two new PSC members change the tone, will Bush holdovers starting changing too?
[Photo: Larry Coltharp]
Let’s say a hurricane comes along, and you’re without power for a few days. Should you have to pay the power company for the power you didn’t use?
The Florida Public Service Commission thought so in July 2005. By a 3-1 vote, it included $33 million for “lost revenues” in a Florida Power & Light rate increase intended to cover extra costs incurred during the 2004 hurricane season. FPL’s total request was for $356 million.
Rick McAllister, president of the Florida Retail Federation, the only major business organization that regularly intervenes in power cases, complains that Publix and gas stations and other retailers are buying generators while FPL charges for outages. He calls the PSC vote “a horrendous decision,” one of several in the last few years that “have dismayed us.”
A retail federation ally, the one who matters most now, is Charlie Crist, attorney general at the time and now the governor who appoints the PSC. Among the commissioners who approved that $33 million: Chairman Lisa Polak Edgar, who will be up for reappointment in 18 months.
Mike Twomey, a former PSC staff counsel who represents AARP and others in PSC proceedings, says Crist’s recent appointments of Nathan A. Skop and former state Sen. Nancy Argenziano “signal an end to that kind of decision-making.” McAllister says he’s “optimistic.”