Atwater: Senate hearing may be in order for PSC
Senate President Jeff Atwater said today through a spokeswoman that he is open to having a Senate committee look into the process and procedures at the Public Service Commission that have spawned the recent allegations that the utility regulators are too close with those they regulate.
"The Legislature sets up the process, and it's possible there are flaws in the process,'' said Jaryn Emhof, spokeswoman for Atwater. She said the Senate president is willing to have the Senate review the system by which the PSC operates, gets appointed and the laws it follows and ask: "Is there a process change that needs to be made to insure the highest level of integrity is adhered to?"
State Sen. Mike Fasano sent Atwater a letter Tuesday urging him to allow the Senate ethics committee to put PSC commissioners and staff under oath to question them about their behavior and practices. Fasano said recent news stories and rulings by the commission have him concerned that the panel charged with balancing between the needs of the utility and its customers "is so obviously skewed towards the utilities."
Atwater "shares some of the same concerns highlight by Sen. Fasano,'' Emhof said. She said no decision has been made about whether to put the issue on the agenda for the Legislature's next round of committee meetings in October.