Florida's utility regulators 'most dysfunctional' in the South, watchdog chief says
The executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, a non-profit, nonpartisan energy watchdog group based in the Southeastern U.S., spoke out about Gov. Rick Scott's recent reappointment of Public Service Commissioner Lisa Edgar today at a meeting with The Miami Herald editorial board. He had some harsh criticism.
Edgar's reappointment was "very disappointing,'' said Stephen Smith, the group's director. Of the seven Southeastern states the group works with, he said, "the Florida PSC is the most dysfunctional."
He said that Florida's PSC operates "in lockstep with the companies they are supposed to regulate. We have not seen the Florida PSC this bad in the years I have been involved. I think that is an area where consumers are being poorly served by the appointments on the commission now.
"I think they are largely uninformed about many positions, and they are way too cozy with the companies they are supposed to regulate.''
Smith's organization is suing the state for what it calls the unconstitutional statute passed in 2006 that has allowed Florida Power & Light and Progress Energy Florida to collect millions from customers to build nuclear power plants that may never be constructed. SACE argues that the PSC has allowed the utilities to shift the definition of what is allowed under the law so that they can continue to collect money from customers when the need for nuclear power plants has diminished.
The Florida Supreme Court hears oral arguments on the case Oct. 4.