State Leaders Deliberately Choosing High Energy Prices
State public utilities commissions (sometimes known as public service commissions) are largely responsible for rapidly rising electricity prices in many states. With the power to approve or reject proposed power plants, many state commissions are aggressively pursuing “green” agendas at the expense of affordable energy. Electricity consumers pay the price for such agendas in the form of higher energy prices.
In Florida, for example, the Florida Public Service Commission has aggressively blocked inexpensive coal power while championing expensive wind and solar power. As a result, coal powers a much smaller percentage of electricity in Florida than the national average, and Florida electricity prices are 19 to 49 percent higher than in neighboring states.
The political atmosphere in Florida has become notably rancorous in recent months as Florida’s elected leaders try to close a $3 billion budget deficit. The budget deficit is unsustainable, yet proposed spending cuts bring outrage and howls of protest from people currently benefiting from such spending.
If Floridians were merely paying the same price for electricity as their neighbors in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, the amount of money Floridians would save would be enough to balance the state’s budget without requiring a single spending cut and still support a massive tax rebate of $400 to $1,000 per household each year.
In Florida, Public Service Commission members are appointed by the governor, subject to the approval of the state senate. A similar selection process exists in most states. Accordingly, our elected leaders have the tools at their disposal to affirmatively reduce skyrocketing energy prices rather than merely complain about them.
When our elected leaders appoint and reappoint public utilities commissioners who are opposed to affordable energy, these appointment decisions have a real impact on our standard of living. Read more about this in my column today in the Tampa Tribune.