Progress Energy Florida CEO: After rate denial, time to review "how we run our business"
Two days after state regulators slashed Progress Energy Florida's profit margin, the company's disappointed CEO stopped by the St. Petersburg Timesto warn a lower rate of return will force the electric utility to rethink "how we run our business in Florida." (Dolan photo by Scott Keller, St. Petersburg Times.)
Is this an opening salvo by a once malleable Florida Public Service Commission? The agency on Monday unanimously rejected a $500 million-a-year base rate increase sought by Progress Energy Florida, the state's second-largest power company. The PSC set Progress Energy's profit level at 10.5 percent — down from the 11.25 percent recommended by the PSC staff and way down from the 12.54 sought by Progress Energy Florida.
Who gets a guaranteed 12.54 profit margin in the worst recession since the Great Depression? Everybody's got to give, at least a little, to get us through this economic jam.
Dolan's meeting was part saber rattling, part lamentation and an acknowledgment the days of rubber-stamped PSC rate hikes may be ending. Just don't count out the deep pockets of a big power company.
-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist