Using Energy Smarter will help local families, businesses lower power bills
Tallahassee, Fla. – Today, more than two-dozen Florida local elected officials, representing constituencies from Miami to Pensacola, filed a letter calling on the Florida Public Service Commission – the agency that regulates the state’s largest power companies – to modernize its badly outdated practices for setting energy efficiency goals. The Commission practices, now almost 30 years old, have landed Florida near the bottom of state rankings for helping families and businesses cut energy waste with utility-led energy efficiency programs, and are hindering local sustainability and resiliency efforts. Floridians now have among the highest energy bills in the country.
Joining thousands of customers who have filed comments in the Commission docket in support of modernization, the 27 local officials said, “We are frustrated by these abysmal results, as you should be as well. We are keenly aware of the important role that robust energy efficiency programs can play in our community. Efficiency programs help our residents reduce energy use and save money on power bills – keeping more dollars in the local economy rather than leaving the state to bring in fuels from elsewhere.”
The antiquated economic policies that eliminate low-cost high-impact energy efficiency measures – such as LED lighting – limit access to energy efficiency programs for customers. The practices, which led to the state’s largest power companies proposing energy savings goals of zero, or near zero in 2019, are so outdated that Florida is the only state that relies on them for setting energy efficiency goals. In the letter, local officials stress that offering programs to address the needs of low-income families is more important than ever given the continuing economic fallout from the COVID-19 crisis and the fact that so many Floridians have unnecessarily high energy bills in the first place.
After nearly 30 years though, Florida has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to modernize its energy efficiency rules through a rulemaking process now underway. The local officials appropriately point out that state energy efficiency policy is dynamic and technologies and customer needs change, therefore, so should the Commission’s rules. In addition, they call on the Commission to finally address the roadblocks holding back progress and ensure that the state’s energy efficiency practices conform with industry standards in order to achieve the best outcome for Florida and its citizens.
The Commission filed a Notice of Development of Rulemaking on December 15, 2020. Its staff held one workshop on January 14, 2021, with post-workshop comments filed on February 15. A number of stakeholders, including Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, have a pending request that staff hold a second workshop and expand the scope to explore modernizing the state’s current practices for setting goals. A final decision is expected from the Commission later this year.
Since 1985, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy has worked to promote responsible and equitable energy choices to ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the Southeast. Learn more at www.cleanenergy.org.