Attorney Jack L. McRay – representing the AARP – has filed a brief with the Florida Supreme Court asking the Court to remand the recent decision by the Florida Public Service Commission (Commission) to approval a “secret” settlement agreement between Florida Power & Light (FPL) and three other parties related to FPL’s March 2012 petition filed with the Commission to raise electric rates for some 4.1 million customers.
McRay argues that AARP is a nonprofit organization with a membership that helps people 50+ years of age – have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. McRay argues that utility costs comprise a substantial portion of their housing expenses – that the burden can be severe – that even people who own their homes outright may pay over half their limited income for housing – due in large part to the high cost of utilities. Inability to pay utilities ranks as the second most common cause for eviction after inability to pay rent.
AARP is appealing to the Court to ensure that the Commission follows the law in setting residential utility rates that are fair, just, and reasonable. The Commission approved a non-unanimous settlement in the FPL case – contrary to Florida law – because it failed to make findings based upon competent, substantial evidence on the record as a whole to address the objections raised by OPC – representing the interests of residential ratepayers. Moreover, the Commission approval of the settlement includes new matters that should not be included in the rate case because no public notice of them was provided as required.