Become an 1819 Member

Basic

$10.99/month

1819

$18.19/month

Premium

$50.99/month
Sign up

Florence attorney Brent Woodall will face incumbent Public Service Commissioner Jeremy Oden in a runoff later this month for the Republican Party's nod in the November general election.

On May 23, Oden topped Woodall by 16,000 votes to finish with 34.3% of the vote over Woodall's 30.9%.

During an appearance on Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5's "The Jeff Poor Show," Woodall discussed his bid, which he said centers around returning excess tax revenue collected on utility fees to the ratepayers.

"[B]efore entering private practice, I was at the Public Service Commission for about three years as the chief of staff," Woodall said. "And it was while I was there that I learned about what I have termed 'the hidden tax at the Public Service Commission.' That is the main reason I am running for this office. People don't know it, or a lot of people don't know just because the Public Service Commission seems to be one of the most misunderstood bodies of government that we have in Alabama. But it gets its money from the utilities it regulates. They pay for the privilege of being regulated.

"The Public Service Commission, as you can imagine, almost always collects more money than it needs. And that money, instead of going back to the utilities and having it returned to the ratepayers, gets transferred over to the general fund. And there, it gets mixed up and mangled up with all of the legitimately collected tax money. And then it gets spent on projects the ratepayers who paid the money initially may never enjoy in parts of Alabama they may never go to. I'm a very conservative person. I was a Trump delegate in 2016. I've been involved in the Republican Party since -- I started out as a Young Republican back when I was one. But as a conservative, that is just wrong. And I decided to run for the PSC to fix that problem, to eliminate the hidden tax."

Woodall argued the government should not be in the "business of making a profit" and estimated the PSC's excess collections to be in the "millions" of dollars.

"When I was there, there was one year it was in excess of $12 million," Woodall said. "It does vary from time to time.

"We are not talking about hundreds of dollars a year or thousands of dollars a year. It is always going to be in the millions."

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email jeff.poor@1819News.com.

Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.

Become an 1819 Member

Sign up