The St. Petersburg Times is reporting that Nancy Argenziano has opted to resign as chairwoman of Florida’s Public Service Commission ahead of schedule, to throw what she described as her unsolicited support behind Democrat Alex Sink in the governor’s race.
Argenziano, a former Republican state lawmaker, said she planned to return to her home district along the Nature Coast and campaign for Sink, according to a transcript of her parting speech produced by the Times. She said she would be “going all in” to defeat Republican Rick Scott. Because Florida law prohibits commissioners from campaigning, that would require her to step down.
“I do not know that I can effectively portray the immensity of the danger of a marriage between the clowns, cowboys and crooks of the current Republican-led state Legislature and Rick ‘the fifth amendment’ Scott,” she said.
The Orlando Sentinel provides some context:
In June, Argenziano and Nathan Skop, two of the Public Service Commission’s most vocal opponents of a push for big electric rate increases last year, had their applications for second terms rejected by the council of lawmakers and citizens who narrow down the candidates. The move came as Florida Power & Light, Progress Energy and other regulated utilities lobbied to remake the commission by booting appointees made by Gov. Charlie Crist.
The Times adds:
Argenziano said she doesn’t trust Scott to pursue policies that will keep utility rates for residential customers low because his business plan calls for less regulation of electric companies which, Argenziano said, means lower rates for commercial businesses and “higher rates for the residential customer.”
According to page six of Scott’s “7-7-7″ economic plan, Florida’s utility costs for businesses are “37th highest” in the country. The portion of Scott’s plan dedicated to regulatory reform also calls for changing PSC processes “to allow reasonable energy production and expansion.” That, Argenziano argued, would amount to allowing utilities to regulate themselves.