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Jeb Bush weighs in for FPL rate hike and against Charlie

Mustering all the fear of Armageddon, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush warns in an op-ed in the Tallahassee Democrat this weekend that if Florida Power & Light and Progress Energy don't get their rate increases a reliable energy grid could be "threatened." He blames "populist politics,'' translation: Gov. Charlie Crist, who has repeatedly said he opposes a rate increase in the midst of this economy. 

Our guess is this was not written by the circumspect and careful Jeb that we know. (If only in real life he used lines like: "With power, the cash registers open and close.'') Instead, it is part of FPL's mounting effort to seek broad support for its rate increase that includes a major television campaign launched last week. See this from CEO Armando Olivera getting behind PSC integrity, this Letter to the Editor, and this op-ed counter-punch.  (Progress Energy officials tells us it's not involved, although its rate decision will preceed FPL and could set the stage.)

We expect our former governor won't be the only former pol weighing in on this effort. Former Attorney General Bob Butterworth has already been enlisted and we hear many more are in line. Watch here for how it's going.

Then there's the line in Bush's piece that, at this point, appears to be unsubstantiated: "...the five Public Service Commissioners who make the decision are de facto judges. Their job is to follow the law, not to impose their personal opinions about the merits of the proposed rate increase."

One problem: What's he talking about? None of the commissioners have publicly expressed their opinions on the merits of either FPL or Progress Energy's rate case. Governor, if you know better, please tell us where you found that. 

Comments

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wawoo

The real mystery is why Jeb Bush and Mac Stipanovich have not been investigated , indicted and either pending trial or imprisonment for misappropiation of public funds and graft.

Floridian

The PSC does need to get some integrity. They keep listening to Charlie Crist, who has none. Jeb certainly doesn't practice my politics but I agree that politics needs to stay out of the PSC's decisions.

PSC Employee

After working at the PSC for over a decade, I have to say I've never seen anything like this before. The PSC is supposed to decide cases based on the evidence and nothing else. That's normally how it has operated for many years until politicians like Charlie Crist and commissioners like Nancy Argenziano have been involved.

I posted here previously, when Commissioner Argenziano's pin messages were made public, because of her many ethical lapses and blatant hypocrisy. She is the one who singlehandedly destroyed Katrina McMurrian's reputation in a power grab to become chair of the commission. We all hold Ms. McMurrian in the highest regard so it was a huge blow to all of us on staff, especially since it sent a message that no one should get in Commissioner Argenziano's way if she wants something. As we all know, Ms. McMurrian is not the only person that Argenziano has succeeded in taking out at the PSC.

Throughout the case, Argenziano has been inserting politics into the process by purposefully feeding information to members of the press and pressuring politicians she is close with, such as Governor Crist and State Senator Mike Fasano, to speak publicly against the rate increase. These actions and many more she has taken on an almost daily basis go directly against the oath taken by PSC Commissioners to remain impartial. While you could say that she has not publicly expressed her opinion on the rate case, her opinion has been made public through the release of the pin messages that clearly show she hasn't been impartial from the very beginning.

As for Governor Crist and Senator Fasano, it's also clear that they're both using the situation to win their elections, particularly Governor Crist who seems to be perpetually running for higher office. All I can say at this point is that I'm glad someone is finally speaking out against politicization of the rate case because the PSC has to make decisions that affect millions of Floridians, and those decisions should never be made based on politics.

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