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Our View: Power companies pulling the strings

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By The Staff

In denying reappointment interviews to two members to the Florida Public Service Commission, the PSC Nominating Council proves just how questionable the relationship between utilities and the entity that regulates it is.eeeeJust ask Nancy Argenziano: “This is a very dysfunctional and corrupt system,” said the PSC chairwoman, who is being shown the door in January at the end of her four-year term. “The corrupt get rewarded.”eeeeArgenziano -- the former state House and state Senate legislator representing Citrus County -- and PSC Commissioner Nathan Skop were not included among 18 finalists for appointment. The fact that they met this fate after helping to sink a hefty rate increase for Florida Power & Light is no coincidence.eeeeThe mere fact that PSC staff members were scrutinized for cozy relationships with utility representatives illustrates how desperately the PSC needs reform. But, no, instead Florida’s political machine ignores that the PSC exists to serve the public.eeeeThe move not to include the two sitting members as finalists makes the relationship between big utilities, legislative powerbrokers and the PSC disgustingly apparent.eeeeWhile Argenziano’s blunt assessment of matters is refreshing to hear and discouraging to acknowledge, her in-your-face style would leave utility officials questioning whether she could objectively assess if there’s a legitimate need for a rate increase.eeeeRegardless, she’s seen the interaction first hand and is disgusted, as should be all Floridians.eeeeWhile reverting to an elected PSC is not a perfect answer -- as, doubtless, dollars from utility companies would fuel campaigns -- it’d be an improvement to the Nominating Council method, which gets its top nominees appointed with or without the governor’s approval.eeeeNancy Argenziano’s style isn’t for everyone, but she calls it as she sees it and Floridians should be as outraged over this “dysfunctional and corrupt system” as she is.