Florida Goes Backwards on Energy Efficiency

fla energy manageIn a 3-2 vote, Florida’s Public Service Commission (PSC) last week approved new goals for utilities that it says will “keep customer rates in check,” while at the same time saying, “The near term impact should slightly reduce all customer bills.” Commissioners also agreed to hold a workshop inviting public input on solar programs that would be “cost effective” in Florida.

The new goals for energy savings via demand response and energy efficiency programs are the lowest required by the state’s utilities since 2009, and effectively gut the programs.

For example, in the case of Florida Power & Light, its 2009 energy efficiency and demand response savings goal was 31,849 GWh. Now, it’s new goal will be 31,468 GWh, a change of -380 GWh.

Requiring utilities to offer cost-effective energy efficiency programs is part of the 1980 Florida Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act (FEECA) designed to reduce the need for additional power plants. Utilities subject to FEECA requirements include Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy Florida, Tampa Electric Company, Gulf Power Company, Florida Public Utilities Company, Orlando Utilities Commission, and JEA. The Commission is required to set goals at least once every five years for each FEECA utility.

An article in the Tampa Bay Times says the utilities, instead of promoting energy efficiency, want to move forward with building new natural-gas power plants.

Photo: Florida via Shutterstock

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