Duke Energy Florida, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, and other stakeholders craft agreement as calls for energy efficiency policy reform increase
Tallahassee, Fla. – An agreement filed today at the Florida Public Service Commission between Duke Energy Florida, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE), Vote Solar, and the CLEO Institute aims to provide relief to low-income customers who have been impacted by the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The proposal includes 1) expanding Duke’s low-income Neighborhood Saver program to serve more families, with more efficiency savings per household, 2) expanding compensation for demand response programs to lower bills further by allowing the utility to cycle down certain appliances, and 3) prohibiting utility disconnections during times when the heat index (heat and humidity) reaches 105 degrees Fahrenheit. This first-of-its-kind agreement for Florida includes outreach to low-income customers who are also behind on their power bills. The agreement was reached ahead of the Duke rate case, which will be before the Commission on May 4.
This type of agreement was made necessary in part because the state’s outdated efficiency policies leave millions of Floridians exposed to unnecessarily higher bills. These policies have landed Florida near the bottom of state rankings for helping customers reduce energy use and saving money on bills. Those efficiency policies are being reviewed in a separate rulemaking docket at the Commission.
George Cavros, SACE Florida Energy Policy Attorney, provided the following statement after the agreement was filed in the rate case docket, “This first-of-its-kind agreement is a small but meaningful step towards addressing Florida’s huge energy affordability challenge. We appreciate Duke’s willingness to negotiate in good faith to reach this agreement. Too many customers are struggling with unnecessarily high energy bills because their homes lack basic energy efficiency improvements needed to reduce energy waste.
While this agreement provides valuable short-term relief to families who are currently struggling from the COVID-19 pandemic, long-term solutions are also needed. To ensure all of Florida’s families and businesses can access programs that reduce energy waste and lower bills, Florida must modernize its badly outdated energy efficiency policies and practices, which are being rewritten now for the first time in three decades.”
The disconnection provision takes effect immediately. Duke will file for approval of the expanded low-income program provisions within 60 days after a final order is issued by the Commission in its rate case.
About the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
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.