http://www.cleanenergy.org/2014/11/25/floridas-public-service-commission-guts-energy-efficiency-opportunities-for-customers/

SACE | Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

Florida’s Public Service Commission Guts Energy Efficiency Opportunities for Customers

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Commission Defers to Monopoly Utilities Once Again

Contact: Jennifer Rennicks, SACE, 865.235.1448, jennifer@cleanenergy.org; David Guest, Earthjustice, 850.228.3337, dguest@earthjustice.org

Tallahassee, Fla.///NEWS STATEMENT/// The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) today approved historic rollbacks in energy efficiency goals proposed by the state’s biggest monopoly power companies.

The Commission allowed the current solar rebate program to expire in 2015. It failed to set goals required to by law to encourage common-sense renewable energy measures, like rooftop solar systems, deferring the discussion to a future workshop.

The PSC’s abdication of its responsibility as stewards for energy consumers means fewer opportunities for Florida’s families and businesses to participate in utility programs that save customers money. The proposed rollbacks will hit lower-income Floridians the hardest, as they often don’t have the information or the financial resources to benefit from the utilities energy efficiency programs. The ten-year goals – set by the PSC every five years – determine the scale of the power companies’ energy efficiency programs for customers. Energy efficiency programs can meet electricity demand at a fraction of the cost of building new power plants and help Floridians reduce energy use and save money on their bills.

The goals approved by the Commission are stunning rollbacks compared to the goals set by the PSC in 2009, ranging from an 87% – 99% reduction in customer energy savings.

Florida’s power companies use a host of methods, rejected long ago by the majority of U.S. utilities and commissions, to support their anemic proposed goals, including arbitrarily eliminating all efficiency measures that have the highest energy savings to customers.

The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) is a party in the FEECA proceeding, and represented by Earthjustice. SACE and Earthjustice issued this statement:

“The historic rollbacks in conservation goals approved today by the Florida PSC are bad news for customers – especially those on lower incomes. During the proceeding, SACE showed that higher levels of energy efficiency cost less than building new, more costly power plants. Instead of siding with customers, the PSC sided with monopoly utility shareholders, once again, by setting meager goals that promote the construction of new power plants – which earn the companies a hefty profit, while leaving fewer opportunities for customers to lower energy use and save money on bills.

Moreover, the Commission set no goal for promoting renewable energy, such as rooftop solar, even though Florida law requires them to do so. The commission, while deciding to defer a decision on future programs to a Workshop, should understand that such a workshop should not be a guise for an attack on current policies that promote customer rooftop solar. The line between the PSC and the monopoly utilities they are charged with regulating has become increasingly blurred. The massive amount of money poured into political contributions and lobbying by the state’s monopoly utilities is clearly paying off at the PSC – to the detriment of customers. It’s time we removed the word ‘Public’ from the agency’s name.”

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Founded in 1985, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible energy choices that create global warming solutions and ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the Southeast. Learn more at www.cleanenergy.org

Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit 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.