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Pressure Mounts on PSC Commissioners

September 11th, 2009 by flanews

Floridas two major power companies are asking the PSC to approve almost two billion dollars in rate hikes. The rate hikes are being considered at a time, As Whitney Ray tells us, when the Public Service Commissions credibility is at an all time low.

Floridas two largest power companies are seeking to raise rates by as much as 12 dollars a month per customer. As the rate hearings continue, questions about secret Blackberry messages and PSC staffers partying with utility execs are being raised.

There needs to be some investigation to find out where the flaws are in our current system, who violated the law, and lets hold those people accountable, said State Senator Dave Aronberg.

State Senator Mike Fasano sent a letter to PSC Chairman Mathew Carter asking him to halt the rate hearings until the air is cleared. We tried to talk to Carter Thursday, but were physically restrained. Governor Charlie Crist says the PSC over reacted.

That sounds grossly inappropriate. People have a right to know, especially at a place like that, it is the Public service commission. If the public cant get access, If you reporters cant get access like that about what they are doing. Thats deplorable, said Crist.

One PSC Commissioner got some good news Friday. The State Ethics Commission dropped a complaint alleging she had improper communications with a utility lobbyist. The commission listened for about eight minutes before voting unanimously to not pursue the matter.

Stephen Stewart, who filed the complaint, says he was muzzled.

The ethics commission would not talk to me. So it looks like the citizens sort of get shut out of the process if youre not part of the establishment, said Stewart.

For the second day in a row we tried to talk to Chairman Carter. We were told he wasnt feeling well. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is still reviewing a complaint against the PSC and the Leon County State Attorney will consider empanelling a grand jury to investigate the Commission.

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