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PSC members Art Graham, Gary Clark get confirmation support

Florida Public Service Commission members Art Graham and Gary Clark cruised through Senate confirmation hearings Tuesday, touting the performance of the utility-regulatory agency while expressing concerns about fuel diversity for power plants.

The Senate Communications, Energy and Public Utilities Committee approved recommendations for the Senate to confirm Gov. Rick Scott’s appointments of the pair.

Graham, who recently started a two-year term as commission chairman, joined the PSC in 2010 and was reappointed by Scott in September to a four-year term.

Clark was appointed to finish the term of former Commissioner Jimmy Patronis, who was named state chief financial officer last year.

Graham said the future of energy in Florida looks “fantastic” and said the Public Service Commission has been able to reduce its budget and hold down customers’ utility bills.

But in addressing challenges, Graham and Clark expressed concerns about the state’s heavy reliance on natural gas to fuel power plants. Natural gas prices are relatively low, which has helped hold down electricity prices, but a risk is that gas prices would rise.

“We are vulnerable,” Clark said.

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