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Man Who Shot Down Rate Cases Could Lose Job

January 13th, 2010 by Mike Vasilinda

The Public Service Commission spent the day frinding through hundreds of issues in the Florida Power and Lights rate case, voting to cut the company’s rate of return, and giving the company just 75 million of the ONE BILLION it had been seeking. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, the man in charge of fighting the rate hikes for customers could lose his job because hes doing too good of a job.

As the Public Service Commission went through one issue after another in FPLs billion dollar rate hike request, JR Kelly sat silently in the audience.

Kelly heads the Office of Public Counsel. Monday, he persuaded the PSC to turn down a rake hike for Progress Energy. Recently he got the PSC to reconsider a hike it had given to Tampa Electric. Now his job is on the line. State lawmakers who hire and fire the Public Counsel are re-advertising his job.

I love this position and I think Ive done a very good job in working for rate payers,” Kelly said. “I hope to continue and I am very, very committed to remaining public counsel.

Kelly has saved electric customers millions. State Senator Mike Fasano wont say his successes have put his job in jeopardy…but

Perception is everything,” Fasano said.

Fasano is one of the few coming to Kellys defense.

I believe he needs to stay,” Fasano said. “I dont think there should be any other choices out there. There should be no solicitation of anyone else applying for the job.”

By the time the election cycle is over, FPL representatives here are expected to give the Republican party over 5 million dollars and the Democrats about half that much.

And if Kelly doesnt keep his job, it would be a clear signal to whomever replaces him that protecting consumers doesnt lead to job security.

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