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Carl Hiaasen on PSC: A tale of man bites dog?

Carl Hiaasen A strange and curious event took place last week.

Regulators actually denied a rate increase to Florida Power & Light, the state's largest utility. FPL wanted to raise monthly electric bills so that it could build a $1.6 billion natural gas pipeline from North Florida to the Treasure Coast. On Monday, the Public Service Commission denied FPL's request by a unanimous vote.

It would be swell to report that the PSC acted from a hallowed tradition of protecting customers from being gouged, but it has no such tradition and that's not what happened. The PSC was basically shamed into denying the pipline request.

The agency is in the midst of a headline-grabbing scandal brought about by staff members becoming too chummy with the utilities. A criminal investigation has been initiated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Like many regulatory panels, the PSC is uncomfortable in a bright spotlight, and for good reason. Read the rest of Carl Hiaasen's column here.