Public Service Commission Race Heats Up


By Alabama News Network

There's been very little competition for most incumbents in state government this year, but one race got even more crowded. 

There's one more republican running for Public Service Commission Place 2 this year.

Former State Representative Steve Flowers of Troy announced his candidacy, running against incumbent Terry Dunn. 

Flowers says this isn't the first time he's considered running for the seat. 

"I think the republican avalanche might have helped him win. I actually thought about this race four years ago," said Flowers.

The Public Service Commission is responsible for regulating power rates across the state.

While Flowers hasn't served on the commission before, he says he has the time now to really delve in to the job.

"There's conflicting opinions about where our rates sit in this state. I'd like to get over there and really analyze and understand. It's thrown out so many times that we have the lowest rates in the country and some people will dispute that," said Flowers. 

Dunn is finishing up his first term on the commission. His chief of staff David Rountree says some of his decisions have made him a target this election. 

"He's actually drawn a lot of controversy though because he said that it made a lot of sense to hold formal rate hearings when you hadn't done so in 30 years. and so when that happened all of the sudden folks started to attack him for doing that," said Rountree.

But he says Dunn's focus is and always has been on fighting for consumers.

"But he just believes that the PSC has a long record of erring toward the companies and he's very concerned that the customers are not being treated fairly. And that's the reason that he pushed very hard for formal rate hearings," said Rountree.

You'll also recognize Flowers as a political analyst for Alabama News Network since 2008, but he will not provide commentary during his campaign.

Others in the race are former Greene County Commissioner Chip Beeker, Alabama Minority GOP Chairman Phillip Brown of Birmingham and media production company owner Jonathan Barbee of Birmingham.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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