Florida Efficiency Hearing Recap – Time to Evolve on Setting Goals
The hearing established that Florida is the only state that uses archaic methodologies in setting energy efficiency goals. No wonder we are almost at the bottom of state rankings on capturing energy savings for customers.
In 2014, the goals were gutted by the Florida Public Service Commission – the agency that regulates the state’s power companies – this year, many of the power companies want to bury energy efficiency once and for all. Gulf, OUC, and JEA have proposed goals of zero. FPL has proposed a residential saving goal that is the equivalent of the energy use of one home – effectively zero.
Florida is already well below the national average and even in the Southeast in providing opportunities to hard-working families and businesses to cut energy waste and save money on bills. The energy savings are accomplished through energy efficiency programs, such as providing rebates for upgrading an AC unit, or attic insulation that helps makes homes more efficient, comfortable and secure. All that disappears if zero, or near zero goals are approved.
That would lead to Florida’s hard-working families and businesses having unnecessarily higher bills – and more pollution from power plants that drives climate change.
The utilities are required by state law to help customers reduce energy use, in part because it is the least cost resource available to the utility. Why build a costly power plant when you can meet demand at a fraction of the cost by reducing demand and saving your customers money?
Plenty of Excuses
Energy efficiency programs are incredibly popular as municipalities and consumers are embracing clean energy and sustainable living. The Florida Commission must stop the power companies’ dangerous retreat from cutting energy waste. Clearly, the methodologies Florida uses to set efficiency goals have out-lived their usefulness– how else can you explain zero, or near zero goals, when other states are committing to capturing magnitudes of times more savings than Florida?
Our briefs are due on September 20th, and the Commission is expected to make a final decision in early November. Stay tuned! In the meantime let the Commission know zero, or near zero goals are not a goal. File a comment here. The Commission must reject the abysmal utility-proposed goals and chart a new path for Florida – hard working families, and future generations are depending on it.
This blog was written by a former staff member of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.
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