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PSC tells FPL its rate hike request is far too high

TALLAHASSEE — Florida Power & Light should be allowed to raise its base rate $357 million next year, not the $1.3 billion the company seeks, the staff of the Public Service Commission recommended Wednesday in a report that also says the utility should be forced to cut its executives' pay.

In the 518-page report, the staff of the agency that regulates utilities disagreed with FPL's argument that it needs the larger amount to pay for operations and invest in new plants without layoffs. Instead, the staff report said the company should tap $314 million in its own surplus and make dozens of other modifications to its operating budget.

The staff proposal gives FPL a lower rate increase than it recommended for Progress Energy Florida, which is seeking a $500 million annual increase in its base rates starting next year.

In that recommendation, the PSC staff recommended allowing Progress Energy to raise rates enough to guarantee a profit to Progress Energy's investors of 11.25 percent. But for the first time, the PSC staff offered FPL a lower profit of 10.75 percent than its sister utility.

In both cases, the staff recommends the utilities be allowed a profit of 1 percentage point up or down above or below its recommendation.

Mary Ellen Klas can be reached at meklas@MiamiHerald.com.

PSC tells FPL its rate hike request is far too high 12/23/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 23, 2009 9:50pm]
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