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PSC Delays Rate Decisions

October 27th, 2009 by flanews

Millions of Floridians will have to wait to see if their electric bills are going up. Today the Public Service Commission voted to postpone hearings in the Florida Power and Light and Progress Energy rate cases under pressure from the governor. As Whitney Ray tells us, the votes are being delayed until a new commissioner can take his post.

Decisions on nearly two billion dollars worth of electric rate increases have been put on hold. The decision comes after outcries over the Public Service Commissions closeness with the utility companies it regulates came to a boiling point.

One new public service commissioner took office this week. Another will be sworn in in January. The governor asked the PSC to postpone rake hike decisions until the new members take office, hoping a new commission will side with customers.

I think that trying to charge people more money during this time is the wrong thing to do, said Crist.

In a surprise outcome, the commission sided with the Governor and will delay decisions in two rate cases. The decision to delay the votes didnt sit well with the two energy companies.

We all wanted to have it concluded by January or before that. It didnt happen. So we are now going to wait for the commission to rule on the record and based on the proposal that we have made, said Mayco Villifana, a spokesman with FP&L.

I was disappointed with the PSC decision. Real needs come with real costs and we cant wait till tomorrow to meet todays energy needs, said Tim Leljedal, a spokesman with Progress Energy.

Companies seeking an increase can raise rates before the PSC votes, although Tuesday the commission voted to keep FP&L from raising rates. Progress Energy can impose the new rate January 1st. If Progress Energy decides to raise rates before the vote and the commission denies the increase, the company would have to refund customers.

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