Donald Polmann attended his first meeting as a member of the Public Service Commission Thursday, promising to seek a balance between sustaining Florida’s public utilities and the needs of their customers.
“I am truly grateful for the warm welcome that I’ve received from everyone here at the Public Service Commission,” Polmann said.
“I know that we have very important work to do, and I intend to make significant contributions with the benefit of my background, experience and expertise. My focus will be on service to Florida.”
Polmann said he hopes to help ensure “consistent, reliable service at a fair and reasonable cost” to customers, at rates that will allow utilities “to maintain as well as plan and grow for the future, in an effective and efficient manner.”
Polmann is a registered professional engineer with three degrees, including a doctorate in civil engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was a senior manager at Atkins, a design and engineering firm that specializes in water projects.
His appointment, which must be confirmed by the Florida Senate, runs through Jan. 1, 2021.
Chairwoman Julie Imanuel Brown welcomed Polmann to the commission, telling him, “You have some big shoes to fill — not literally,” referring to Edgar.
During the next two years, Brown said, the commission plans an active agenda, including preparation for cybersecurity and natural disasters including hurricanes.
The agenda for Thursday, she said, contained “lighter issues, to help ease the transition to a new year.”
Items included minor rate hikes to finance well repairs and capital improvements at two small Pasco County water utilities; transfer of ownership of another small water utility in Lake County; and a territorial agreement switching 29 commercial and 102 residential customers in Hamilton County from Duke Energy Florida LLC to the Suwanee Valley Electric Cooperative.
The commission approved all of the items in under an hour.