Dwight Dudley bill calls for elected Public Service Commission

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Freshman Rep. Dwight Dudley filed a bill Tuesday that calls for electing members of the Florida Public Service Commission. The bill (HB 447) would lead to two-year terms, with one commissioner elected from each of five regions that correspond with the state’s district courts of appeal. The commissioners would be limited to a total of eight years and would be barred from soliciting or accepting campaign contributions from regulated utilities. Currently, the governor appoints members of the PSC after receiving recommendations from a nominating commission.

Dudley’s bill also would prevent former commissioners from going to work for utilities until they have been off the panel for at least eight years. The proposal also would require the commission to “consult” with the state Office of Public Counsel before ruling in rate cases. The PSC recently approved a settlement that will increase Florida Power & Light’s base rates, despite the outspoken opposition of the Office of Public Counsel, which represents consumers statewide.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.