Low-Income Customers Get Reprieve as Florida Commission Rejects Recommendation to Slash Energy Savings Opportunities 

Energy Efficiency Programs Critical to Families Facing High Energy Burden

July 7, 2020
Contact: Amy Rawe, SACE, 865-235-1448, [email protected]

Tallahassee, Fla. – The Florida Public Service Commission today rejected its own Staff’s recommendation to disallow expansion and improvement of energy efficiency programs for electric customers – including programs focused on low-income programs. The decision allows Florida Power & Light (FPL), Duke Energy Florida (DEF), Tampa Electric (TECO), and Gulf Power to implement enhanced programs for the next five years. 

Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) filed comments opposing the Staff’s recommendation pointing out significant disparities between Florida’s biggest utilities on their past performance and stated commitment to energy efficiency moving forward. Fortunately, Duke, Tampa Electric, and Gulf all filed comments questioning the Staff’s recommendation as well. Thousands of customers would have lost access to energy savings opportunities had the Staff’s recommendation been adopted.

Following the Commission’s decision, SACE’s Energy Efficiency Director, Forest Bradley-Wright, stated, “Today’s decision is a welcome reprieve for hard-working families in Florida, especially the most vulnerable, who depend on efficiency programs to help cut energy waste and reduce unaffordable power bills.”

Energy efficiency is the cheapest, quickest, and cleanest way to meet the energy needs of Floridians. Yet, the state’s energy savings performance from efficiency programs pales in comparison to many other states because of Florida’s continued use of outdated cost-effectiveness tests and other flawed screening practices that depress savings potential. To increase efficiency savings for customers, reforms to those harmful underlying practices are needed. 

The Commission approved another Staff recommendation that Staff be allowed to explore rulemaking changes that would combine goals setting and efficiency program approval processes. SACE strongly believes that changes are needed in how energy efficiency decisions are made at the Commission. But those changes must first and foremost address the root cause of Florida’s poor efficiency performance, which result from the above-mentioned outdated practices in setting goals. 

SACE’s Bradley-Wright added, “Now is the time for Florida to focus on the future. By modernizing several outdated practices, the Commission can end unnecessary barriers so more customers can lower energy bills with expanded energy efficiency programs while reducing Florida’s reliance on more costly polluting power plants.”

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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.