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McMurrian to Judge FP&L

September 16th, 2009 by Mike Vasilinda

A PSC Commission who dined with utility executives will continue to judge whether Florida Power and Light should be allowed to increase its rates by more than a billion dollars. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, Commission Katrina McMurrian is refusing to recuse herself from the rate hike decision.

Public Service Commissioner Katrina McMurrian dined with an FPL executive in February, but says she did nothing wrong and will continue to judge whether the company deserves a rate hike.

I didnt make any inappropriate comments,” McMurrian said. “There were no ex parte communications. I did pay for the meal.

The motion asking McMurrian to step down from voting on the rate hike was filed by a disappointed Steve Stuart.

The motion to recuse is not based on that she did anything wrong, its based on the standard, that a reasonable person would fear, that since she was at these conferences and communicated with these people, that they would not get a fair trial, Stuart said.

The FP&L rate hearing continued Wednesday with McMurrian participating fully.

For the second time this week, Florida Power and Light has sprung for nearly full page ads in the states major dailies.

The company says it is not using the ads, including one labeled TOO COZY, to divert attention from allegations it may have communicated improperly with commissioners.

Under no circumstances did we attempt to inappropriately influence anyone,” FP&L spokesperson Jackie Anderson said. “The bottom line here is that a negative result in these proceedings, puts at risk thousands of construction jobs.

On Tuesday, the commission discussed new ethics rules for the first time since a grand jury recommended changes that were never adopted in 1992.

McMurrians refusal to step down could be appealed, but wont be, if at all, until after the rate case is over.

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