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Crist asks PSC to postpone rate case

Gov. Charlie Crist wants the Public Service Commission to postpone a final ruling on the Progress Energy and Florida Power & Light rate cases until his new appointees take office.  On Thursday, Crist appointed two new commissioners, David Klement and Steve Stevens, to serve on the five-person panel and ousted two incumbents, Matthew Carter and Katrina McMurrian who had sought reappointment.

In a letter to the PSC commissioners today, Crist wrote: "Given the potential impact that the outcome of thse cases will have on Florida consumers, I believe it is important that these commissioners have the opportunity to fully participate in the process." Download 2009.10.2_Letter_to_Public_Service_Commission

Both companies are seeking about a 30 percent increase in their base rates and a ruling on the Progress case is expected in November while the PSC will decide whether to reject, modify or accept FPL's revenue request in December and decide in January how to divide the rates between its residential and commercial customers.

By law, the PSC has one year after the cases were filed in March to rule on the rate cases and, because FPL is governed by a 2005 settlement agreement with the state, it believes it is entitled to increase its rates automatically on Jan.1 if a rate request is not approved. It has agreed to refund any difference if the PSC enacts a lower rate hike after that date. 

As chairman of the commission, Carter sets the schedule and can ignore or accept the governor's recommendation.