- Florida lawmakers are considering some changes to how the state regulates electric utilities, including altering how officials on the state's Public Service Commission are appointed and shifting the chain of command to have the state's consumer advocate report to the Attorney General.
- The Florida House Energy and Utilities subcommittee voted 11-2 to advance the measure, PCB EUS 17-01, according to the News Service of Florida.
- PSC commissioners are appointed by Florida's governor, but the proposed changes would add a geographic requirement. If the law is approved, the commission would include one member each from five districts, which mirrors the state's appeals court districts.
Florida lawmakers continue to tweak utility regulation in the state, and are considering more changes to how the PSC is constructed. A 2015 law set PSC commissioner service at a maximum of three four-year terms, while this latest proposal would trim it down to two terms.
Aside from adding geographic diversity to the commission, the proposed bill would shift oversight of the Office of Public Counsel from the state's legislature to the office of the Attorney General. But despite the proposed change, observers were quick to say the idea has little to do with J.R. Kelly, who currently heads the office.
The Florida Industrial Power Users Group, a frequent player in PSC proceedings, told the News Service of Florida it was not sure the changes were needed. "I did not hear any criticism or questions with respect to the job Mr. Kelly is doing,'' said the group's attorney, Jon Moyle.
The Florida PSC has been involved in major decisions in the state in recent years. In 2016, the commission and other parties agreed to put a hold on natural gas hedging programs at electric utilities after reporting billions in losses.