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Progress calls PSC decision on rate case 'harmful'

Progress Energy president Vincent Dolan called the Public Service Commission decision to reject its rate case request "particularly harmful'' and warned that it could have long-term repercussions on the company's ability to provide reliable electricity.

“We know that there is never a good time to raise rates, but the PSC decision is particularly harmful because it fails to recognize the true costs associated with providing a secure, reliable electricity system,'' Dolan said in a statement. "The commission has decided to approve only a fraction of the cost of providing current and future service to customers at the level they expect and deserve. This will have a negative impact on our state’s already aging energy infrastructure, and in the long run, the decision will mean a more expensive and less reliable system for Florida customers.

“Since the formation of Progress Energy Florida in 2000, the company has focused its efforts on improving customer reliability and service, reducing the environmental impacts of providing electricity and preparing for the energy future of Florida customers. These successful multi-billion-dollar efforts have been achieved with only a one percent change in base rates over the last 25 years.

“The electric utility business is heavily dependent on the confidence of investors in the abilities of company management and fairness of regulators. Today’s result will certainly affect the financial performance of the company, especially given the continued economic decline and associated impact on energy usage.  Depending on the market view of this decision and the changing Florida regulatory environment, we may see an increased cost of capital and a reluctance of investors to put capital at risk in the Florida market. Ultimately, projects from storm hardening to clean-air improvements to carbon-free nuclear might be in jeopardy.”