PSC Progress Energy Public Hearing

07/09/09 Lindsey Kratochwill
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The Florida Public Service Commission is holding a series of public hearings to better understand the possible effects of Progress Energy’s proposed 31.5% increase in base rates. Tuesday afternoon’s hearing was held at Spartan Manor in New Port Richey.

At the beginning of the hearing, various parties spoke, such as the Florida Retail Federation and the Office of Public Council. Members of Florida Legislature were also present, including House Representatives John Legg and Peter Nehr. Alex Glenn, representing Progress Energy Florida explained their reasoning for higher rates.

Glenn called for a 12.5% rate of return, which Progress feels is a fair rate. However J.R. Kelly, from the office of public council disagrees. He feels that the revenue is too high.

New Port Richey State Senator Mike Fasano said that there is nothing consumers can do in order to lower these base rates. Lowering usage will not decrease the base rate costs.

The energy rate increases don’t only have effects for the homeowner, but also the business owner, according to Cecilia Bradley, representing Attorney General McCullum. She calls this the trickle-down effect.

Senator Fasano says that these rate increases are not reasonable for his constituents.

These constituents came to the hearing in a packed banquet hall to tell the commissioners their experiences with Progress Energy and why they don’t support a rate hike. Roselyn Linen receives Social Security. Her fixed income is not enough for expenses. Elaine Geier of Holiday says that these cost of living increases won’t even be available. Lilian Desau of New Port Richey, who is also on Social Security, is caught feeling as though she doesn’t know what else she can do.

There are suggestions going around about how to save money in the current economic climate. But Frederick Tomaski of New Port Richey doesn’t support paying more to Progress Energy.

Maryellen McGee of New Port Richey said she does not use her air conditioning because she can’t afford it. But she does need the electricity to power an oxygen pump to help her breathe.

Harry Blethroad is a former US Marine. He brought up the unique situation he faces because he lives in an apartment. Ellen Geier also says that since the business is a monopoly, Progress Energy customers have no options.

Will Nickerson of Holiday asks the commission to think about the customers of Progress Energy when making their decision.

For more information about the hearings, and when they may be coming to your area, go to The Commission will vote on the matter at the November 19th and December 1st Special Agenda and Agenda Conferences.

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