The current commission sided with FPL on the most controversial issues, with Commissioners Art Graham and Lisa Edgar forcefully defending major parts of the modified proposal.
Balbis, however, prepared a list of issues that he hoped would be considered by commissioners that would modify the settlement and, he said, tilt it more “to the public interest.”
For example, he said he objected to a provision that allows the company to take $400 million out of reserves that was paid for by customers in order to keep its profits lower than 11.5 percent and not trigger a rate case. If the company’s profits exceed that level – or dip below 9.5 percent – it must return for a rate case review.
Balbis suggested the company agree to trimming at least $10 million a year in profits in return for the favorable settlement. But Graham repeatedly objected, saying that those details were intended for a full rate case, not a settlement proceeding and the $10 million was arbitrary.
“They’re still the cheapest animal in the state and I don’t want to see the settlement fall by the wayside,’’ he said.
Balbis bristled and replied: “starting with a details list is in the weeds and then picking anything that isn’t on the detailed list is arbitrary.”
He noted how he grew up near FPL’s headquarters, and spent his early career working with them for the city of West Palm Beach, but acknowledged he was being outnumbered by the majority. He added “hopefully the parties will listen to my concerns.”
The PSC is expected to take a vote on the issue later this afternoon.