ronald_brise.jpgTALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) _ The Florida Public Service Commission is beginning a lengthy hearing on Florida Power & Light Co.'s request to raise rates by $690.4 million a year.


Commission Chairman Ronald Brise late last week denied the utility's request to delay the hearing that starts Monday so the panel could consider a proposed settlement with groups representing industrial, health care and federal government customers.

Public Counsel J.R. Kelly, who represents all utility consumers, and the Florida Retail Federation opposes the proposed deal.

Brise's order says it was too late to postpone the hearing three working days before it was to begin. That's when the proposal was filed.

He also noted the panel could still consider it after the hearing.

Kelly said it would ultimately increase rates more than the utility's initial request.