The Public Service Commission could be looking at a major overhaul, thanks to the efforts of two local lawmakers.
State Sen. John Legg and state Rep. Chris Sprowls say they have introduced legislation that will make PSC commissioners “more reflective of the people they are supposed to serve.”
“The Public Service Commission should service the public good,” said Sprowls, a Republican out of Palm Harbor, in a release. “While millions of Floridians are left in the dark — or fleeced by companies like Duke Energy — the PSC continues to turn a blind eye.
“These meaningful first steps will add some diversity and accountability to the PSC as we work on other reforms that will fundamentally alter the culture of the PSC.”
The legislation, according to the release, would limit commissioners to just two consecutive terms. It also would divide the state into five districts, the boundaries aligning with the district courts of appeal, and requiring each commissioner to live in each district.
It also would restrict elected officials from earning an appointment to the commission for two years after they leave office.
“Reforms are needed to restore confidence in the Public Service Commission,” said Legg, a Lutz Republican. “Unfortunately, people don’t feel like they’ve been dealt with fairly, and that is a problem.”
The PSC is tasked to regulate the five investor-owned electric companies, seven investor-owned natural gas utilities, and 149 investor-owned water and wastewater utilities, according to the organization’s website. The governor appoints the five members based on recommendations from a nominating council. Before 1979, however, three of the five members were elected statewide.
The PSC has come under fire in recent months, especially with Duke Energy and its decision to allow the utility to collect billions of dollars from customers for two nuclear plants that are no longer in operation, or was never in operation to begin with. Another lawmaker, Tallahassee Democrat Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, has introduced a bill that would eliminate the so-called nuclear cost recovery statute.