Statement by Brad Ashwell, The Florida Alliance for Consumer Protection’s
Legislative Director, in Response to today’s committee passage of legislation
to reform the Florida Public Service Commission in the House Government Operations & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee
“HB7071 took an important first step this morning. The Florida Alliance for Consumer Protection (FLACP) commends Representative Kathleen Peters (R – St. Petersburg) for pushing much needed reforms to the PSC and Representative Blaise Ingoglia (R – Spring Hill) for allowing the bill to be heard in his committee. We hope members of the House Commerce Committee will support the bill in it’s next stop.
The PSC has made a number of questionable decisions over time relating to ratemaking and cost recovery that have directly and severely impacted Florida’s consumers. FLACP supports reforms to the commission that would ensure consumer interests are at the forefront of their concerns or at least on a equal footing with the large investor-owned electric utilities.
HB7071 contains good provisions relating to a performance based ratemaking process that will align a company’s allowed profits with their performance. This includes the consideration of important criteria such as utility costs, custom service, system reliability and energy efficiency, among others. There are also several good government provisions relating to term-limits and the revolving door that may create greater separation between the commission and the industries they regulate. In theory, this could increase the likelihood that they will place consumer interests on a more equal footing with that of the industries in their decision making.
Placing the Office of the Public Counsel (OPC) within the Attorney General’s office is likely to be a positive move. The office needs greater independence and could more aggressively advocate for consumers in the proposed scenario depending on the Attorney General. FLACP supports the changes in the proposed bill as it would be an improvement over the current situation. However, a completely independent office with it’s own funding stream would be far more ideal.”