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Integrity Florida Report Calls the Florida PSC a “Captured” Regulatory Agency

0 Comments 02 October 2017

Integrity Florida released a new research report examining the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) and many of the more controversial rate decisions the commission has made in recent years. Read the full report here.

The report, titled Florida’s “Public Service” Commission? A Captured Regulatory Agency, builds on key findings by proposing a series of policy reform options that would greatly improve the PSC’s ability to serve the people of Florida.

“Investor-owned utilities regulated by the PSC have an extraordinary degree of influence on the Governor and the legislature and they have used that influence to pursue favorable decisions by the PSC, at the expense of the public,” said Ben Wilcox, Research Director for Integrity Florida. “This report shows that the Public Service Commission has been “captured” by the very industries it is supposed to regulate.”

The PSC has the dual responsibility of balancing the needs of monopoly utilities and their investors with the needs of consumers. The commission must set rates that are fair, just and reasonable for consumers, but utility investors must also be allowed to earn a reasonable return on their investment. When evaluating recent rate decisions researchers noticed some troubling trends.

“Many contested rate hike requests by utilities are resolved through settlements. However, utilities seem to be gaming the settlement process,” said Alan Stonecipher, Integrity Florida researcher.  “The companies enter negotiations in rate cases much like a used car dealer who marks up the initial asking price knowing that they will eventually agree to a lower amount.”

Read the full report here.

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