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PSC Chairman Speaks, Finally

September 14th, 2009 by flanews

More allegations are circulating about the Public Service Commissions close-knit relationship with the utilities it regulates. A motion to have Commissioner Katrina McMurrian recused from the Florida Power and Light rate hearings was filed today after it was disclosed she attended a dinner in New York City with FPLs treasurer. As Whitney Ray tells us, FPL is firing back, taking out full page ads in several Florida newspapers.

While Florida Power and Light seeks a 1.3 billion dollar rate increase, new allegations about improper contact between regulators and the regulated are surfacing. Stephen Stewart filed a motion to have Commissioner Katrina McMurrian removed from the FPL hearings, after it was revealed she had dinner in New York with FPLs treasurer.

I would think that a reasonable person who was on trial would not want the judge going to dinner with the other side, said Stewart.

After a week of avoiding the media, PSC Chairman Matthew Carter finally answered questions about the commissions questionable relationship with the utilities it regulates.

I dont think we need to respond to allegations of unproven truths or half-truths of innuendo or rumor or gossip. What we need to do is look at our structure, said Carter.

Too Cozy was the headline on this full page ad FPL placed in major Florida dailies. The ad aims to divert attention from allegations of preferential treatment and secret dealings with the PSC.

State Senator Mike Fasano sent a letter to PSC Chairman Matthew Carter last week asking Carter to halt the rate hike hearings until the air is cleared. Carter says he hasnt focused on the letter. Governor Charlie Crist, who has come out against the rate increases, says he will base his reappointments on how the commission votes.

Lets see what the commissioners want to do so I can have a better handle on who to appoint or reappoint, said Crist.

Both McMurrian and Carter are up for reappointment. FPLs rate hike hearing is set to resume Wednesday, unless Chairman Carter decides to halt the case. Carter received a request to halt the hearing Friday, but says back pain has kept him from making a decision about whether or not to move forward.

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