Friday, October 24th, 2014

Scott-O-Meter

Reform PSC for more energy production


"Reform PSC (Public Services Commission) processes to allow reasonable energy production and expansion."


Updates

No changes to Public Service Commission in first year

Rick Scott proposed during his campaign to reduce "unnecessary costs" on Florida businesses.

That would create jobs, his plan said — as many as 240,000 new jobs over seven years.

One plank of that regulatory reform strategy took aim at energy production. (Separately, he promised to "address Florida's relatively expensive electricity costs," and to expand the use of nuclear and alternative fuels, which we're also tracking.)

Scott would reform processes at the state Public Service Commission to "allow reasonable energy production and expansion," his plan said.

What did he mean by that?

"Gov. Scott's concern was that state policy and regulation should result in predictability of process and enforcement to encourage needed investment in energy infrastructure," his communications office explained in a written response to our request for an update in December 2011. "Investment in our energy infrastructure should be a top priority and is essential for the security and reliability of our energy supplies."

What's been Scott's record on "reform" at the PSC?

In Florida, the five-member Public Service Commission regulates investor-owned utilities based on state law set by the Legislature and governor. The governor appoints commissioners, who are confirmed by the Senate. A governor might also lead through legislative proposals.

Here's what the governor has done so far:

• He reappointed four commissioners: Art Graham, Ronald Brise, Eduardo Balbis and Julie Brown.

• He named an energy adviser, Mary Bane, to produce a state energy plan. It was projected to be done by late summer 2011, but such a policy is still in the works, according to the Governor's Office. So it's hard to say what, if any, reforms the governor might propose for the Public Service Commission.

Meanwhile, the Governor's Office says that "the current Public Service Commission seems to recognize the importance of a stable and record-based regulatory process."

In essence, the office is saying no reform is currently needed.

Scott promised to "reform PSC processes." If he now feels the same commission that was in place when he ran for office doesn't require reform, we rate that promise Stalled.

Sources:

Gov. Rick Scott's Communications Office, written responses to PolitiFact's questions about the Scott-O-Meter, Dec. 28, 2011

E-mail interview with Jackie Schutz, spokeswoman for Governor's Office, Dec. 9-19, 2011

PolitiFact Florida Scott-O-Meter, "Lower electricity costs," updated Dec. 20, 2011

Interview with Susan Glickman, clean energy lobbyist, Dec. 16, 2011

E-mail interview with Scott Hempling, Georgetown law professor, former executive director of the National Regulatory Research Institute, Dec. 17, 2011

Florida Current, "2012 Session Outlook: Utilities and Energy," Dec. 28, 2011

Florida Public Service Commission, "Florida Public Service Commissioner History," accessed Dec. 16, 2011

Miami Herald's Naked Politics blog, "Scott to weigh in on energy policy with less conservation, more renewables," June 23, 2011