Gov. Charlie Crist reappointed Lisa Polak Edgar to the Florida Public Service Commission on Wednesday, his third appointment to the five-member panel that regulates utilities.
Crist bypassed two other nominees, including a politically connected Miami lobbyist, in favor of Edgar, who was first appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush in 2005.
Just hours before the announcement, Crist had said he generally doesn't favor re-appointing incumbents. And in his earlier role as attorney general, Crist often fought utilities on rate increases. In recent months, he has remained quiet as utilities have sought to raise bills to pay for higher fuel costs and new nuclear plants.
Crist's other two PSC appointments were Nathan Skop and former state Sen. Nancy Argenziano, R-Dunnellon.
The commission, which sets electric rates, is expected in coming years to deal with rising fuel costs, new greenhouse gas regulations and oversight of about $30-billion in new nuclear plants. It also determines how utilities will meet the state's growing energy needs.
Edgar, 45, a longtime state bureaucrat, is a former deputy secretary for the state Department of Environmental Protection and is a graduate of Florida State University's law school.
Crist passed over former state Rep. Luis Rojas and relative unknown William Dawson, who works for the Orlando Utilities Commission.
Rojas, a Republican from Hialeah, is a registered legislative lobbyist for Wal-Mart and Florida Crystals. He is also a longtime political ally of Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami, who headed the legislative PSC nominating committee. During Rojas' tenure in the House, he served as the head of the House utilities committee and received $16,000 in campaign donations from the industry.
Asjylyn Loder can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 225-3117.