Commentary: Customers paying for others' mistakes

This editorial appeared in The Miami Herald.

If a bad employee makes a costly error – whether intentional or not – there isn't much mystery about who will pay for the damage. The company pays, of course, and if the owners are smart, they will rigorously review their hiring and management practices. With Florida Power & Light, this isn't always the case.

The Public Service Commission said customers – not FPL – should pay for costs the company incurred when an angry worker drilled a hole in a pipe at the Turkey Point nuclear plant two years ago. Fortunately, the Office of Public Counsel, which represents utility customers, challenged the decision in hearings this week. The PSC should reverse its ruling. Fairness demands it. Public Counsel lawyer Stephen Burgess says customers should be reimbursed nearly $6.2 million, plus interest.

Other than Mr. Burgess, no one else in the case has stood up for FPL customers' interests. A string of decisions by the PSC, FPL, FBI, U.S. attorney's Office and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission all ended up excusing those involved in the incident while leaving FPL customers stuck with the bill, even though they had nothing to do with what happened.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Miami Herald.