At Risk: Energy Efficiency Programs Helping Six Million Florida Families & Businesses Save Money
Pending Public Service Commission decision would cement Florida’s rank at the bottom in helping customers lower their energy bills
Tallahassee, Florida –– Today, staff for the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) recommended the approval of proposed electric utility energy efficiency goals of zero or close to zero. Their recommendation was made despite wide and vocal opposition that comes from a diverse coalition of advocates, dozens of letters and resolutions from cities throughout Florida, and thousands of letters requesting meaningful conservation goals submitted by the public.
If the PSC, whose members are appointed by the governor, approves these staff recommendations at its November 5th meeting, it would end access to efficiency programs for over 6 million hard-working families and businesses – and would cement Florida’s place at the bottom of state rankings on helping customers cut energy waste and saving money on power bills.
Energy waste makes Florida’s businesses less competitive and increases the energy burden on the state’s hard-working families. Efficiency helps lower bills for all customers because utilities burn less fuel and defer the construction of costly new power plants. Abandoning energy efficiency programs means that customer bills will be higher than necessary.
Governor DeSantis should demand that the Commission elevate Florida from the bottom of the pack by setting meaningful energy efficiency goals that are in line with leading states. It’s a common-sense policy that helps customers save energy and money, while protecting our natural environment.
“As the nation’s oldest and largest Latino civil rights organization, the League of United Latin American Citizens in Florida is extremely concerned with the negative impacts of high energy burdens on Latinos and other front line communities in the state. News that PSC staff is recommending the approval of extremely low energy efficiency goals is troubling and disappointing. We continue to urge the public service commission and legislators to listen to the voices of ratepayers across the state and enact meaningful and robust energy efficiency goals that help lower costs for families already dealing with the impacts of dirty energy production, heat stress, flooding, severe weather phenomena, and other climate change related impacts,” said Mari Corugedo, Florida State Director at LULAC.
“Zero is not a goal. These recommendations sell hard working Florida families short and continues the dangerous trend of walking away from using energy smarter,” said George Cavros Florida Policy Attorney at the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. Cavros continued, “Florida already badly trails states nationally, including Southeastern states, in capturing energy savings for customers. Governor DeSantis cannot let this happen on his watch.”
“The proposal would prevent millions of Florida families from saving money on their energy bills. It’s not too late. Every person in Florida who wants lower energy bills and to protect the climate, should contact the Public Service Commission. The Sunshine state should be a leader in energy efficiency, not nearly dead last in the country,” said Bradley Marshall, an attorney at the nonprofit legal organization Earthjustice who represents the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy who intervened to get higher energy efficiency goals.
“Florida is ranked second in the country for electricity consumption. Increasing energy efficiency and reducing our reliance on dirty fossil fuels should be at the top of the Public Service Commission’s agenda. Today’s recommendations completely fail to help working families reduce their energy bills and do nothing to fight back against the growing threat of climate change,” said Aliki Moncrief, Executive Director, Florida Conservation Voters.
“Income inequality is rising as fast our rising seas (due to our changing climate) and many Floridians spend their whole lives working hard to give their families a better future. According to the United Way of Florida, in 2018, nearly half of Florida’s families “struggled to pay their bills and keep their heads above the fiscal waters. Setting robust energy efficiency programs not only will reduce bills for Low-Middle Income families, but will also reduce Florida’s energy costs while reducing its contribution to global warming,” said Yoca Arditi-Rocha, Executive Director, The CLEO Institute.
“With our state in growing danger of the effects of climate change, Floridians cannot afford to spend their hard-earned money on energy bills that do not promote clean and sustainable energy,” said Patricia Brigham, president of the League of Women Voters of Florida.
Note: Individuals personally impacted are available for interviews. Video and photos are available.
About the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
Since 1985, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy has worked to promote responsible energy choices to ensure clean, safe and healthy communities throughout the Southeast. Learn more at www.cleanenergy.org.
About the Earthjustice
Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit public interest environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health; to preserve magnificent places and wildlife; to advance clean energy; and to combat climate change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.
About the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
LULAC is the largest and oldest Latino civil rights organization in the United States. LULAC advances the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, housing, health and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs operating at more than 1,000 LULAC councils nationwide.