In union circles, they call it "burial insurance." That apt phrase denotes the severance, early retirement and re-training packages negotiated for veteran utility workers sideswiped by a changing...
Electric Restructuring: Before, During and After
a framework if [you've] got to decide this problem, if you are at the door and you need to figure out a system. I don't think Florida is there. That is why we have objected to that to some degree.
Today, FPL is against that NOPR, but three or four years from now when it has another 2,000 or 3,000 MW of generation outside of Florida, it may need the FERC to step in because its investors may need reliability in terms of its investments. That is something that is going to happen on a broad scale.
When will Florida decide if it will enact electric competition legislation?
I think the legislature has adopted a go-slow approach. There is talk this year of putting together an energy policy commission by the legislature. When they feel it's ready it will be ready.
Where will the PSC be in 10 years?
Our role has to be protecting these companies from each other and making sure the consumers do not get hurt. ¼ We are going to be more of a consumer protection agency as opposed to an economic regulator.
By what benchmark will you rate success?
That we have reliability and reasonable prices that keep Florida on the cheaper side. And on the competitive side, I think the benchmark for that will be probably decided by the legislature to some degree and historians way after that.
What in your background is helping you bring competition to Florida?
I am uniquely unqualified to hold my post but the governor thought I was and the legislature thought I was. I am thankful for that. I have a law degree and what I have is an open mind. That is what the commission has had for the last few years.
Clearly, you have to look beyond the borders of Florida and make sure that what you are doing is the right thing. One of the great tricks of our founding fathers, whether they did it consciously or unconsciously, they designed a system that had 50 different experiments going on all the time in which you have hundreds of regulatory people working on trying to figure out better ways to serve the people and hundreds of companies trying to figure out better ways of trying to get around us.
There is nothing wrong with that. Keeping an open mind is what we want on the commission.
What experiences do you draw on daily?
I come ¼ from an agency that used to do public-sector work with private dollars. It taught us that there were a lot of ways that you could do things that government can't do. Now I am a believer that government can have a positive effect on people's lives. There is no agency that touches more Floridians on a day-to-day basis than the Florida Public Service Commission. ¼
Think about why commissions were set up. They were set up to try to create a competitive framework where none existed or try to simulate competition where there was none. Anytime we can let the market do