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Sierra Club challenges nearly $1 billion electric rate hike

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An environmental group is challenging a rate hike for Florida’s largest electric utility. The Sierra Club on Tuesday asked the state Supreme Court to reject an $811 million hike that was approved last year for Florida Power & Light. FPL has about 4.8 million customers in the state. FPL initially wanted a $1.3 billion hike but scaled it back during settlement negotiations. The hike was approved by the Florida Public Service Commission, and part of it took effect this month.…

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Personnel note: Lisa Edgar named state parks director

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Florida State Parks

Lisa Edgar has helped regulate the state’s investor-owned utilities. Now, she’s going to oversee its parks. Edgar was named Director of the Florida Park Service, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced Tuesday in a press release. She’ll start next month. “From my time at DEP and as a frequent visitor of our state parks, I’ve seen first-hand the high caliber of the Florida Park Service team,” she said in a statement. “I look forward to working with this team to continue to achieve…

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Jack Latvala says bill may put PSC over local utilities

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State Sen. Jack Latvala, his chamber’s next budget chief, Friday said he might file legislation for next year to put municipal utilities under the supervision of the state’s Public Service Commission. “I think you’re going to see a bill dealing with the municipalities that are currently not supervised by anybody above them, in terms of their (storm) preparedness, their rates,” he told reporters in Tallahassee. The commission already oversees investor-owned utilities, including rate increase requests. But the head of the…

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PSC candidate sued for unpaid credit card bills

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Todd Chase says his $24,000 in unpaid credit card bills shouldn’t factor into his qualifications to be a state utility regulator. “It’s taken care of, settled, and not an issue,” said Chase, one of three finalists for a spot on the Florida Public Service Commission. A government watchdog disagrees, saying it may reflect on “whether he is qualified to do the job.” Either way, Gov. Rick Scott soon will make the final selection. Alachua County court records show that in May, less than…

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Jeffrey Bragg fails to make final cut for PSC seat

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Three candidates won nomination Wednesday to sit on the Florida Public Service Commission. Their names go to Gov. Rick Scott, who will make the final selection. Conspicuously absent from the final cut was Jeffrey Bragg, previously Scott’s top pick for state insurance commissioner. Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater didn’t support him for that post and the job eventually went to David Altmaier. Bragg mentioned the episode during his time at the podium Wednesday. “I want to tell you that as much fun as that was, I’ve…

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Public Service Commission nominees down to 3, Rick Scott to decide winner

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Three candidates won nominations Wednesday to sit on the Florida Public Service Commission. Their names go to Gov. Rick Scott, who will make the final selection. The top vote-getter during a meeting in Orlando of the PSC Nominating Council was Donald Polmann, with eight votes. The Dunedin resident is a registered professional engineer with three degrees, including a doctorate in civil engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He wrote a chapter for a scholarly book on water use and supply.…

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Jeffrey Bragg, 7 others make cut for PSC opening

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A state panel on Thursday picked eight applicants—including unsuccessful Insurance Commissioner contender Jeffrey S. Bragg—to be interviewed for a seat on the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC). The Public Service Commission Nominating Council will hold interviews Aug. 17, with the goal of selecting three finalists for Gov. Rick Scott‘s consideration. One person tapped by the council is Scott’s deputy policy coordinator. The PSC regulates and sets rates for the state’s investor-owned utilities. Here are the eight to be interviewed, with background from their applications: John R. Coleman: The…

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