After my recent column and blog post on Florida Power & Light's proposed $690 million annual rate increase for electric bills, I heard from Nathan Skop, former Florida Public Service Commission member. His verdict: FPL doesn't need a rate increase.

Skop was one of four PSC members jettisoned after rejecting most of FPL's last rate hike request in early 2010.

"The best outcome would be for FPL to immediately withdraw this request or extend the existing (price-freeze) settlement agreement for an additional two years," Skop wrote.

Public hearings on FPL's increase continue today in Broward. State regulators will hear comments in two sessions: : 9 a.m. at Plantation City Council Chambers (400 NW 73th Ave., Plantaion) and 4 p.m. at the South Regional/Broward College Library at 7300 Pines Blvd., Pembroke Pines.

Those who can't attend the hearings can send comments to the PSC by mailing them to the PSC Clerk, 2540 Shumard Oak Blvd., Tallahassee, FL, 32399-0850. Refer to FPL rate case #120015-EL.

After the jump, read Skop's full comments.

And to get FPL's viewpoint on the rate increase, read this Miami Herald op-ed piece from FPL executive Pam Rauch.

Here are Skop's full comments:

"I was one of the four honest Commissioners who lost our jobs for saying NO to FPL. History quickly demonstrated that we made the correct decision to deny the rate increase.

What has changed from the last rate case to justify such a request? Absolutely nothing except that we now have a new FPL friendly Public Service Commission.

After being denied the largest unjustified rate increase in Florida’s history in 2010, FPL complained that the Public Service Commission decision to deny their $1.3 billion dollar rate case would cause terrible things to happen. Over the past two years FPL has reported healthy profits and earnings, FPL’s parent company has raised its quarterly dividend by 26%, and its stock is currently trading at a 52 week high.

Now, FPL is once again making outrageous demands. The problem is that FPL management has no credibility based upon what it said after the last rate request denial. FPL has a track record of crying wolf and will use any means necessary to get its way. As an illustrative example, FPL used its money and power to lobby the legislature to purge the four fair commissioners who denied the last FPL rate request.

With respect to the current rate request, FPL is asking for roughly half of the 1.3 billon dollars that asked for last time which they didn’t need to begin with. Once again, FPL is recycling the same failed arguments from the last rate case.

Despite the expensive FPL media campaign which is not working, FPL ratepayers deserve to know the facts regarding the proposed rate increase:

1. Having the lowest rates in the state does not provide the legal basis or justification to increase base rates.

2. A $690 million dollar rate hike is not necessary for FPL to continue generating healthy profits.

3. If the Commission denied the FPL rate request, our total electric bills would actually go down because of lower fuel costs.

4. An 11.25% Return on Equity is outrageous under prevailing economic conditions.

5. Return on Equity has nothing to do with the ability to make investments because FPL receives full cost recovery ONCE a plant is placed in service. During construction, FPL recovers all of its carrying costs through the Allowance for Funds Used During Construction (AFUDC)."