Archive

Archive for March, 2011

Mar
29

“A PSC spokeswoman told WFTV that Aqua’s request is being handled through a more informal process that does not require commissioners to attend public hearings. Staff members attend, instead, and report back.”   (This statement was made  to a WFTV (9Investigates) reporter.) See the full story at: 

http://wap.wftv.com/wap/news/text.jsp?sid=147&nid=43591378&cid=378&scid=-1&ith=2&title=Local+News

PSC Staffers, for the most part, do a great job, but whoever said that Commissioners don’t have to participate, is probably being interview for job at Aqua Utilities, or perhaps, just isn’t qualified to be a spokesperson for the PSC.

In the attached FAW customer hearing notice FAW Notice of Customer Meetings 07939-10[1], under “General Subject Matter To Be Considered”, it says ‘one or more PSC Commissioners may attend and participate‘.  Out-going PSC Commissioner Skop attended every single customer hearing, because he cared about hearing the unfiltered stories, directly from the rate-payers.

Commissioner Graham could have taken some time to attend, at least, a couple of these hearings. I believe it’s called, “Earning your $130,000.00 a year, from the public trough”.

The PSC “Staff” does not represent the rate-payers! Their job is to make sure that Aqua Utilities Florida gets “whatever it takes”, out of the rate-payers’ pockets, to keep AUF in business, at a profit (whatever it takes). As a matter of fact, that’s the PSC Staff’s definition of “reasonable rates”.

Are AUF rate-payers suppose to wait until the final hearing, in May, to see what the PSC “Staff” recommends?  That being the case, I guess we should just stay home, and let the ‘bureaucats’ in Tallahassee take care of things for us. Surely, we can trust them, right?
I can just see them now, all the Staff that attended the customer hearings, lining up to tell the Commissioners what they should do, to help the poor rate-payers. Nonsense!

Are AUF rate-payers suppose to assume that the PSC “Staff” will relay the hundreds upon hundreds of concerns that were raised at these hearings in May? I would imagine they will have to be cross-examined to get that information out in the open.

Dave Bussey
Zephyrhills, FL

Mar
29

Mar
29

I addressed the Senate Communications, Energy and Utilities Committee yesterday. Senator Fasano did an excellent job of questioning Commissioner Graham. One Senator suggested he not be apart of the AUF rate case.  Another reminded him that the position of PSC Commissioner is significantly different than that of most other public officials, because of the quasi-judicial status:  perception is a critical factor, and should not be taken lightly.

Yet Commissioner Graham offered no regret, and held the position that he did nothing wrong, even though it was pointed out to him that the subject of any lengthy discussion is not the issue.  Senator Bogdanoff doesn’t get it either. She thinks “facts” out-weigh “perception”.  Not so, regarding this matter.

The law clearly states that “perception” is the primary concern:  ”A commissioner must avoid impropriety in all of his or her activities and must act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the commission.” (FL Statute 350.041(2)(h)

Unfortunately, our concerns fell on deaf ears, except for Senator Fasano. If Commissioner Graham would have apologized, or in some way, offered some regret for his misconduct, and further, vowed to step away from the “open” Aqua Utilities rate case, I might be more understanding of the vote to confirm him.  But he stood there and arrogantly ignored all that was said to him!  (rubbing those senators faces in his crap!)

That vote was a very “revealing and loud statement” to all of us. The majority of Senators on the Communications, Energy and Public Utilities Committee don’t have as much respect for the law, as perhaps they should. They apparently view the above referenced statute as a “perception” rather than a “fact”, or the utility companies really do own them!

My resolve is stronger than ever, to do whatever it takes to help Art Graham find another line of work! I would encourage you all to contact Senator Fasano’s office and thank him for his efforts.

Dave Bussey
Zephyrhills, FL

Mar
26

Mar
26

Mar
26

From St Pete Times (Pasco – Editorial Section)

Gov. Scott made poor choice for PSC
In Print: Sunday, March 27, 2011

Scott made poor choice for PSC

Gov. Rick Scott recently appointed Art Graham to the Florida Public Service Commission two days after withdrawing Graham’s appointment. The commission regulates your utility rates and has been heavily criticized regarding the unethical conduct of commissioners and for being too cozy with the utilities that they regulate.

See full story at: http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/letters/gov-scott-made-poor-choice-for-psc/1159847

Mar
26

Mar
25

By Julie Patel March 24, 2011 03:25 PM

The Senate’s utilities committee plans to vote Monday on whether to approve your new utility regulators.

The four newest members of the state’s Public Service Commission, Art Graham, Eduardo Balbis, Ron Brisé and Julie Brown, will face that committee and another before heading to the full Senate for a vote.

The committee will also weigh a renewable energy bill it has drafted, SPB 7082, that would allow the state’s major utilities to charge customers about $390 million a year for new renewable energy plants and purchases.

Click link below for full story

Mar
24

———————————————————-

Florida Senate Committee on Communications, Energy and Public Utilities

This committee will meet, at 1:00 pm, Monday, March 28, 2011 (see insert below)  to
confirm new PSC Commissioners, including Art Graham, who has demonstrated
his bias and partiality towards Aqua Utilities Florida officials,
and has broken the public trust with all Florida utility rate-payers.

——————————————————————–

These are the Senators on this committee:

Senator Benacquisto, Chair; Senator Smith, Vice Chair;

Senators Altman, Bogdanoff, Braynon, Diaz de la Portilla, Evers,

Fasano, Flores, Joyner, Lynn, Margolis, Negron, and Sachs

——————————————————————–

Below are these senator’s phone #s and email addressess.

PLEASE TELEPHONE THESE SENATORS IMMEDIATELY, AND LET THEM KNOW HOW
YOU FEEL ABOUT CONFIRMING ART GRAHAM.

——————————————————————–

Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto

850-487-5356

benacquisto.lizbeth.web@flsenate.gov

———————————–

Sen Christopher L Smith

850-487-5112

smith.chris.web@flsenate.gov

———————————–

Sen Thad Altman

850-487-5053

altman.thad.web@flsenate.gov

———————————–

Sen Ellyn Bogdanoff

850-487-5100

bogdanoff.ellyn.web@flsenate.gov

———————————-

Sen Oscar Braynon

850-487-5116

braynon.oscar.web@flsenate.gov

———————————-

Sen Miguel Diaz de la Portilla

850-487-5109

portilla.miguel.web@flsenate.gov

———————————-

Sen Greg Evers

850-487-5000

evers.greg.web@flsenate.gov

———————————

Sen Mike Fasano

850-487-5062

fasano.mike.web@flsenate.gov

———————————

Sen Anitere Flores

850-487-5130

flores.anitere.web@flsenate.gov

———————————

Sen Arthenia Joyner

850-487-5059

joyner.arthenia.web@flsenate.gov

———————————

Sen Evelyn Lynn

850-487-5033

lynn.evelyn.web@flsenate.gov

———————————

Sen Gwen Margolis

850-487-5121

margolis.gwen.web@flsenate.gov

———————————

Sen Joe Negron

850-487-5088

negron.joe.web@flsenate.gov

———————————

Sen Maria Sachs

850-487-5091

sachs.maria.web@flsenate.gov

———————————

Senate Confirmation Hearing (PSC Commrs)

Mar
22

LAKELAND | U.S. Senator Bill Nelson has jumped into the debate over Aqua Utilities’ proposed rate increase that is pending before the Florida Public Service Commission.

Nelson complained about the rate increase in a March 21 letter to PSC Chairman Art Graham.

Aqua, whose 117,000 Florida water and sewer customers include residents in six Polk County subdivisions, stretching from the outskirts of Lakeland to east of Lake Wales, has been at the center of controversy in recent years over a series of rate increase requests.

Residents have complained the rates are unjustified and unaffordable and have criticized Aqua’s documented poor customer service record.

“I urge you to carefully consider the harmful affect any further rate hikes right now would likely have on Florida consumers and deny, delay or minimize the request,” Nelson’s letter said.

Frustrated Aqua customers have called on elected officials at all levels of government to try to intervene in Aqua’s rate increase requests, which have been occurring regularly since 2009.

The decision rests with the PSC.

Nelson’s request is similar to a resolution approved last November by the Polk County Commission asking PSC members to delay or reduce the rate increase.

PSC officials held a public meeting last year in Lakeland to hear from customers about the rate increase.

PSC members will formally consider Aqua’s request at a hearing May 24 in Tallahassee.