Charlie Crist announces ‘Affordable Florida for All’ plan, targets Public Service Commission reform
Fresh polling gives Charlie Crist a decent lead.

crist
The plan, Crist's campaign said, is to stop 'outrageous electric rate increases and reform utility regulation.'

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist’s campaign for Florida Governor unveiled the first part of a new policy plan to make living in the Sunshine State more affordable for Floridians. It’s appropriately called the “Affordable Florida for All” plan, and two additional parts of the proposal are set to be unveiled later this week.

Crist announced the plan at a Monday news conference in Miami, where he was joined by North Miami Beach Vice Mayor Michael Joseph, Miami Gardens Councilwoman Katrina Wilson and others.

The first part of the plan centers on the Public Service Commission (PSC), which Crist’s campaign said is now “in the pocket of big utilities and acting more like a lapdog than a watchdog” while “wages and the rate of wage growth in Florida are well below the national average.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis has only made the issue worse, Crist’s campaign argues, citing signed legislation that halved the Sadowski Fund for affordable housing and hurt homeowners with changes to property insurance regulations.

“All while this Governor takes giant campaign contributions from electric utilities, then watches quietly as the PSC rubber-stamps their outrageous hikes,” Crist’s campaign said.

Crist’s solution: broad changes to the policies and composition of the PSC, including making its members answerable to state residents at the ballot box by enabling Floridians to vote them out of office.

Further, Crist is calling for changes to the law so the Governor can directly appoint members of the Commission and the Office of Public Council without having to choose from a list of candidates “hand-picked by the utilities.”

The Governor now fills PSC vacancies by choosing a list of nominees provided by the Public Service Commission Nominating Council. The Governor’s choice must be confirmed by the Florida Senate.

That, among other changes, will stop “outrageous electric rate increases and reform utility regulation,” Crist’s campaign argued.

Crist’s plan also includes commitments to invest in low-cost and clean energy solutions, including electric vehicle charging stations, expanding solar energy efforts and repealing legislation preventing local governments from restricting the use of natural gas obtained through fracking.

“When I was Governor (before), I took on the power companies and demanded lower rates for (Florida’s) working families,” Crist said in a statement. “I appointed consumer-oriented regulators who were on the side of the people, not on the side of profits. And my ‘Affordable Florida for All’ plan is our campaign’s promise that once I’m in office, I’ll do it again.”

A former Republican Governor now running to reclaim Florida’s highest office as a Democrat, Crist faces Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and state Sen. Annette Taddeo, among others, in the Democratic Primary.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


4 comments

  • Susan E Schubert

    January 25, 2022 at 10:15 pm

    Last I noted, members of the PSC were affiliated with the various power companies. Something’s sure wrong with that picture! Go, Charlie!

  • Frank Lacey

    January 26, 2022 at 1:22 pm

    Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. The regulatory process in Florida and many other states has been corrupted. A new regulatory paradigm is indeed needed. Get the utilities out of the generation business. Allow private investors to own generation, including solar and other renewables and force the utilities to focus on delivering reliable energy from those resources. FPL has made billions in other states that have deregulated, yet fight tooth and nail to preserve their monopoly. Florida is allowing them to have their cake and eat it, too.

  • Andrew Finn

    January 26, 2022 at 2:11 pm

    Ah yes — the PSC (aka “Public Screwing Commission”) certainly needs to be overhauled, if not abolished and started over. All they do is “rubber stamp” ridiculous rate increases and anything else that utility companies want. No care for the people of Florida, only their own pockets that the utilities constantly fill.

  • Chris Trakas

    January 31, 2022 at 4:18 pm

    For 2021 My home owners insurance went from $3400/yr to $5100/yr and now, for 2022 it has gone up to $7200. I will NOT VOTE for any FL politician who does not – at the very least – ADDRESS THE PROBLEM AS A PROBLEM. TALK ABOUT IT! YOU CAN NOT OFFER AN “AFFORDABLE” FLORIDA WITHOUT TACKLING THE CRIMINALITY OF THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY. And by the way – my utility bill IS NO THE PROBLEM, and has actually gone down.

Comments are closed.


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