FPL asks appeals court to keep salaries secret
Just hours before state regulators would have been forced to release Florida Power & Light's executive salaries, the company today filed a petition asking a court to halt the data drop.
The Juno Beach-based electric company asked the 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee to stop the Public Service Commission from disclosing the salaries and titles of more than 400 executives who make $165,000 a year or more at the company. The PSC had ruled that FPL and Tampa's Progress Energy must reveal the salary amounts and titles because that information a critical piece of the $1.3 billion rate case. Commissioners allowed the companies to keep secret the names of the employees.
FPL is asking for a 30 percent increase in its base rate beginning next year, and Progress Energy is asking for a 31 percent hike in the base rate. Progress has not appealed the order as regulators began its rate case today. Download FPL appeal petitionFPL has vehemently argued that the release of the salary data would pose a competitive disadvantage. "The commission has historically had no problem exercising its responsibilities without publicly releasing specific salary data for individual employees, so the only reason for this information to be publicly disclosed now is to distract from the important issues in the case that matter to our customers,'' Mayco Villafana said in a statement today.
The PSC order, however, notes that Florida's statute was "unambiguous" and clearly required disclosure. It also notes that any appeal must be made to the Florida Supreme Court for electric companies, not the 1st DCA.
FPL had 30 days from the PSC's Aug. 20 order to file an appeal but, in an unusual development, the PSC said today that because of a "scrivener's error" it had to amend the original order on Sept. 1. PSC staffers tell us that gives FPL more time to file its appeal.