by Rick Flagg and Alan McBride
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. -- Despite objections and the threat of legal action, the Florida Public Service Commission has voted to proceed with Florida Power and Light's request for a big increase in electric rates.
Charles Rehwinkle, with the Office of Public Counsel, said the utility gummed up the works last week when it submitted an entirely new plan two days after the filing deadline for the $690 million rate hike.
"FPL cannot have it both ways in this last-minute filing," he said. "The remaining parties should not be penalized because of FPL's brinksmanship. They have created their own problems by the new rate relief request they have filed in the FPL document."
Rehwinkle said the power company is using offensive tactics to create a legal morass, and he told the commission FP&L's proposed settlement should be dismissed before it taints the entire hearing process.
The PSC, however, refused to back down.
They expect to spend the next two weeks arguing over the rate case.