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Ivan Penn, Times Staff Writer

Ivan Penn

A native of Washington, D.C., Ivan Penn joined the Times in July 2006 after more than 12 years with the Baltimore Sun. Penn covers utilities, energy and consumer issues as part of the Times' business team. He is married and has three children.

Phone: (727) 892-2332


Twitter: @Consumers_Edge

  1. FPL gets approval to charge customers for fracking investment


    State regulators approved a proposal Thursday to allow Florida Power & Light, the state's largest utility, to charge its customers for investment in natural gas production, an idea Duke Energy is reviewing.

    FPL won approval for natural gas drilling projects in southeastern Oklahoma with the ability to recover its investment under the fuel portion of its customers' bills.

    FPL proposes to invest $191 million in the PetroQuest Energy Inc. joint venture. The utility projects net savings for customers of about $52 million....

  2. Watchdog group files complaint against Duke Energy over reserves


    North Carolina utility watchdog group NC WARN filed a complaint Tuesday with federal regulators alleging that Duke Energy wrongfully charges its customers for new power plants while operating with exorbitant reserves.

    The 19-page complaint highlights Duke's Florida operations as one of the utility's prime examples of large reserves.

    The Tampa Bay Times reported in July that Duke Energy Florida listed its anticipated reserves for this month at 38 percent of its full potential generation — 18 percent above state requirements and 23 percent above standards in almost all other areas of the country....

    A utility watchdog group has filed a complaint with federal regulators, alleging that Duke Energy wrongfully charges its customers for new power plants while operating with exorbitant reserves. [CHERIE DIEZ | Times]
  3. Bill seeks to restrict how Duke Energy alters billing cycles


    Tampa Bay area lawmakers are set to file a second bipartisan measure targeting Duke Energy Florida with legislation that would restrict how the utility alters customers' billing cycles.

    Rep. Dwight Dudley, D-St. Petersburg, teamed up with Sen. Charlie Dean, R-Inverness, for companion bills in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

    Announcement of their legislation follows a bipartisan bill filed Monday to repeal the Nuclear Cost Recovery Clause, or so-called nuclear advance fee, and require Duke to refund its 1.7 million customers for billions in costs for two projects that did not materialize....

    Rep. Dwight Dudley said that there is no line Duke Energy will not cross.
  4. Bill filed to repeal Duke Energy's nuclear advance fee and force refunds


    A bipartisan pair of Tampa Bay area lawmakers have filed legislation to repeal the nuclear plant construction advance fee and to require Duke Energy Florida to refund billions it has collected for failed nuclear projects.

    Rep. Amanda Murphy, D-New Port Richey, and newly elected Rep. Chris Latvala, R-Clearwater, are making good on campaign pledges to take action against Duke for money the utility has collected from 1.7 million customers without delivering any electricity....

    A pitchfork is hoisted towards the Duke Energy head quarters during the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy's pitchfork protest in October in downtown St. Petersburg. "Floridians are tired of being taxed for projects that will never come to fruition," Rep. Amanda Murphy, D-New Port Richey, said. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  5. Lawmakers file bill to reform Florida Public Service Commission


    Two Tampa Bay area lawmakers announced Friday that they have filed legislation to reform the state Public Service Commission following a series of controversial decisions by regulators.

    Sen. John Legg, R-Trinity, and newly elected Rep. Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, said ratepayers have lost confidence in the PSC and they want to take steps to restore the public trust.

    The proposed reforms include:...

  6. Duke Energy hires former GM official as senior VP for communications


    Coming on the heels of several public relations messes across its six-state service territory, Duke Energy announced this week that it has hired a former GM executive to head its communications operations.

    Duke picked Selim Bingol, the former head of GM's global communications, as senior vice president and chief communications officer.

    Bingol, who also previously directed public relations for AT&T, will be responsible for leading Duke Energy's communications strategy and services, including internal and external communications, media relations, executive communications, brand management and digital communications....

  7. Tampa Electric proposes to offer LEDs for street light requests


    Tampa Electric wants to change its street lighting program to offer only high-efficiency LED lights to future customers.

    The utility filed a request with the state Public Service Commission on Wednesday to change its street lighting program. If approved, Tampa Electric would no longer offer the old high-pressure sodium or metal halide technologies for new street light requests or area lights....

  8. FP&L considers charging customers to explore fracking; Duke Energy could follow suit


    Duke Energy is one of two Florida utilities pondering the high-risk natural gas exploration business, and they want customers to pay for it.

    Already, state regulators are considering a proposal from Miami-based Florida Power & Light to charge its customers as much as $750 million a year for a fracking exploration project in Oklahoma that the utility says could help lock in fuel prices for years and save customers money....

    State regulators are considering a proposal from Miami-based Florida Power & Light to charge its customers as much as $750 million a year for a fracking exploration project in Oklahoma that the utility says could help lock in fuel prices for years and save customers money. [AP photo]
  9. Duke Energy Florida customers to get 16 cents a month rate decrease in 2015


    Duke Energy Florida customers will see a drop of 16 cents a month for the average ratepayer beginning Jan. 1, after members of the state Public Service Commission on Tuesday approved the utility's new rates.

    With the rate change, the average Duke customer bill will drop to $125.13 for 1,000 kilowatt hours of power.

    The reduction in Duke's rate is largely the result of falling fuel prices. ...

  10. Florida regulators approve plan to gut energy efficiency goals, end solar power rebates


    TALLAHASSEE — State regulators on Tuesday approved proposals to gut Florida's energy-efficiency goals by more than 90 percent and to terminate solar rebate programs by the end of 2015, giving the investor-owned utilities virtually everything they wanted.

    After almost two hours of debate, members of the state Public Service Commission voted 3-2 in support of staff recommendations that backed the proposals of Duke Energy Florida, Tampa Electric and Florida Power & Light....

    Commissioner Julie Brown, a dissenter, sees conflicts in objectives.
  11. Florida regulators to decide on energy-efficiency goals, solar rebates


    State regulators in Tallahassee are expected to decide today whether to back proposals by Florida utilities to gut their energy-efficiency goals by more than 90 percent and end programs that offered rebates for solar installations.

    Ahead of the state Public Service Commission decision, environmental groups and solar backers warned during a conference call with the news media Monday that a vote in favor of the utilities' proposals could push Florida further behind the majority of the nation for the next decade....

    Florida’s top power companies contend that it is too costly to continue programs offering rebates for the installation of solar power networks, such as those from Sunworks Solar at the Florida State University zero-emission house in Tallahassee.
  12. Florida utility regulator Lisa Edgar takes helm of national association


    SAN FRANCISCO — A Florida regulator on Monday became the first from the Sunshine State to serve as head of the 125-year-old National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, a nonprofit organization that includes more than 200 officials from throughout the United States and its territories.

    The NARUC elected Lisa Edgar, the longest-serving member of the Florida Public Service Commission, for the one-year post during its annual meeting here. The president of NARUC runs its meetings, which provide education about utility issues, and represents the regulators in major presentations such as testimony before Congress....

    Florida Public Service Commissioner Lisa Edgar, center, arrives at a private reception for registered attendees of the NARUC annual meeting that included regulators and industry representatives at the Marriott Marquis in San Francisco on Sunday.
  13. Lockheed Martin to join growing solar presence in Tampa Bay


    While Florida utilities continue to argue that solar panels on rooftops and over parking don't make economic sense, the business and government communities seem to think otherwise.

    The latest: Lockheed Martin plans to build a large-scale solar system at its Pinellas County facility, joining Great Bay Beer Distributors, Tampa International Airport, C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center and James A. Haley VA Medical Center....

  14. PSC staff backs utilities' proposal to gut energy-efficiency goals


    State Public Service Commission staffers largely backed proposals by Florida's utilities to gut their energy-efficiency goals by more than 90 percent in recommendations released Thursday, a moved that angered environmentalists.

    In a more-than-100-page filing, the commission's staff members presented their analysis of the hotly debated utility proposals, which also include elimination of rebates for installation of rooftop solar....

  15. One-month spike in electric bill angers Duke Energy customer


    GULFPORT — Ralph Bassett's electric bill typically runs about $120 a month, every month, winter and summer.

    Bassett runs his two-story, 1920s wood-frame home as a model of efficiency: LED lightbulbs, dimmer switches, a tankless water heater, a clothesline for drying most of the wash.

    So when Bassett's bill spiked in July to $256, he called Duke Energy Florida and got what he thought were unsatisfactory replies....

    Ralph Bassett wonders how his electric bill more than doubled in July when he has no air conditioner and uses a tankless water heater and LED lightbulbs.