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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

AARP urges legislators to resolve differences, pass PSC reform

12

April

AARP Florida director Lori Parnham today called on House Speaker Larry Cretul and Senate President Jeff Awater to work out their differences on a plan to reform the Public Service Commission and warned that the massive differences over the approach taken by each chamber threatens to undermine any reforms this session.

“Florida utilities regulators make decisions affecting billions of ratepayer dollars,” Parham said in a statement. “All Floridians deserve the strongest, fairest and most transparent utilities regulation that our elected officials can create.  With less than three weeks remaining in the 2010 legislative session, AARP members and other Floridians may see no action on PSC reform at all this year unless Speaker Cretul and President Atwater can move this issue forward.  We are depending on their leadership.”

Here's the full statement:

Tallahassee, Fla. – AARP Florida State Director Lori Parham Monday called on Senate President Jeff Atwater and House Speaker Larry Cretul, as well as key state senators, to take decisive action on legislation to make the Florida Public Service Commission’s decision-making more transparent.   

Parham also called on President Atwater and key legislators to immediately move forward with planned hearings for two new nominees to the Public Service Commission appointed late last year. 

“Floridians of all generations are counting on our legislative leaders to move forward to make our state’s utilities regulation more transparent and fairer for both ratepayers and utility companies,” Parham said.  “It’s just common sense that everyone ought to be able to see who is sharing information with PSC commissioners.” 

 AARP Florida strongly supports the transparency provisions included in SB 1034 by Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey.  The provisions would forbid one side of a utilities regulatory case to communicate with PSC commissioners without fair notice to all parties and the public.  The Senate has adopted Fasano’s legislation 39-1.  Meanwhile, the House is backing a broad PSC reform bill (HB 7209), produced by a key House committee and also sponsored by Rep. Steve Precourt, R-Winter Garden.  Because wide differences remain on the two bills, AARP Florida is concerned that the entire PSC reform process is in danger.

 “Florida utilities regulators make decisions affecting billions of ratepayer dollars,” Parham noted.  “All Floridians deserve the strongest, fairest and most transparent utilities regulation that our elected officials can create.  With less than three weeks remaining in the 2010 legislative session, AARP members and other Floridians may see no action on PSC reform at all this year unless Speaker Cretul and President Atwater can move this issue forward.  We are depending on their leadership.”

Parham also called for the Senate to proceed as planned Wednesday on confirmation hearings on two recently appointed PSC commissioners, David E. Klement and Benjamin “Steve” Stevens.  “With time running out in the 2010 legislative session, the Senate should move forward with appropriate hearings on these commissioners’ appointments,” Parham said.  “The new commissioners deserve their opportunity to be heard.”

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 12:28pm]

    

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