http://www.cleanenergy.org/2017/08/04/august-2017/

SACE | Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

August 2017

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August means back to school for many families and what better time to brush up on energy saving tips for your home or business. It is easy to forget about energy efficiency but conserving energy is the cleanest form of energy there is! Find efficiency programs in your state by visiting the Dept. of Energy’s website here. For all you DIYers, Home Depot and Lowes also provide helpful resources and products that reduce energy consumption and save you money in the long run.

 

  1. Seeking Southern Climate Champs – Are You In?
  2. SACE Challenging FPL’s Anti-Consumer Monopoly Mischief
  3. A Penny Shared is a Penny Used to Lift Energy Burdens in Memphis

 

Seeking Southern Climate Champs – Are You In?

chris-climate-marchThe attacks to clean energy are in full force. President Trump is pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, halting EPA’s Clean Power Plan, and placing dirty pipelines back on the table. Here in the Southeast, wind energy development is under attack, and offshore drilling and seismic blasting are, once again, a threat to our coasts.

But the resistance is also in full force. Across the South, we have scientists organizing their first marches for action, and community events filling up to standing room only. And, regardless of the decisions made on Capitol Hill, the price of clean energy is plummeting and the industry is thriving.

North Carolina’s first wind farm, Amazon Wind Farm U.S. East, is expected to generate $250,000 in local property tax revenues in just 2017 alone. Three of our states in the Southeast (Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida) were ranked in the top 10 for PV installations completed in 2016.

SACE is obviously disappointed with the blatant failure of our country’s leadership to take responsibility for our own climate pollution and seize the economic opportunities presented by clean energy, but our work is not slowing down. It’s ramping up, and that’s where you come in: So much is on the line right now, and we’re looking for climate champions across the Southeast to get involved. Can you write a letter to the editor? Attend a local event? Make phone calls for a SACE campaign? Or maybe you have other ideas to share with us…

Take a few minutes and sign up to get involved here!

Last year, SACE led a coalition that was successful in two major solar ballot victories in Florida despite being severely underfunded and understaffed. The Solar Choice campaign went toe to toe against a $26 million utility-backed campaign and won! The key to our success? People Power. The Solar Choice coalition was a true victory for grassroots activism over corporate greed.

Now, SACE is looking to emulate this grassroots success throughout our region. We’re gearing up to push for more clean cheap energy in Memphis, fight rate increases for nuclear reactors that were recently cancelled in South Carolina, and open up EV policies that will Electrify the South.

Can you help SACE strengthen the call for clean energy solutions? Sign up here to join the fight and bring more clean energy to the Southeast.

 

2. SACE Challenging FPL’s Anti-consumer Monopoly Mischief

fpl-credit-card-sqImagine that your utility plans to build two nuclear reactors, but it won’t commit to actually build them – it won’t even commit to a price tag. Then continue imaging that there is no construction company to build them since Westinghouse recently filed for bankruptcy. In fact, the reactor project is so speculative that your utility can’t say whether it would even be a good economic deal for customers. Yet, it wants to continue to pursue licenses for this risky project, rack up millions of dollars in costs and profit, and have you pay the final tab – regardless of whether the reactors ever get built. Are you outraged? Speak out!

Well that’s the deal that Florida Power and Light (FPL) wants to impose on its 4.8 million customers. It recently made a request to the Florida Public Service Commission, which will hold a hearing to consider FPL’s request on August 15th.

The Commission holds an annual nuclear cost recovery hearing where monopoly utilities can recover costs from customers from reactor construction (courtesy of a anti-consumer 2006 law) – if certain conditions are met. The Commission’s own rules require that the utility show that the proposed reactors are economically feasible – FPL did not produce a feasibility analysis this year or last year. There isn’t even a builder for the proposed AP-1000 model reactors. If FPL can’t produce a feasibility study showing that pursuing the reactors makes economic sense for customers, why would the Commission saddle customers with more risk and costs?

Doing so would essentially create a predatory credit card scheme where FPL gets to run up their customers’ charges for as long as it wants and then, at some unknown future date, present its customers with a staggering bill for both project costs and profits. And ironically, customers will not have purchased anything since the speculative reactors will likely never be built.

FPL’s customers have already been charged more than $300 million for these fantasy reactors. Similar AP-1000 reactor projects in Georgia are years and billions of dollars behind schedule and the reactor expansion project in South Carolina was just cancelled!

Expect the legal fireworks to fly at the August 15th hearing and we ask that you join us in speaking out for consumers by sending in your comments to the Public Service Commission. Protect your wallet!

 

3. A Penny Shared is a Penny Used to Lift Energy Burdens in Memphis

memphis-has-power-collage-sqMemphians are no strangers to struggle – whether it’s struggling to stay cool in increasingly long, hot summers, struggling to make ends meet as more than 25 percent of the population lives under the poverty line or struggling for civil rights, like the sanitation strikes that brought Dr. Martin Luther King to town or the Black Lives Matter protest that shut down the I-40 bridge almost one year ago. Currently, many Memphians are struggling to pay utility bills that, on average, add up to more than six percent of a family’s annual income or double the national average.

Memphis is at the top of the list when it comes to how much low-income and minority communities pay on energy bills. In Memphis, these families are paying an average of 13 percent – and some families paying over 20 percent – of their annual income to keep the lights on. Birmingham, AL has the next highest average energy burden at almost 11% of annual income. Atlanta, GA rounds out the top 3 cities with a 10% burden. See full report here.

As temperatures creep above 100 degrees and air conditioners strain to keep homes and businesses cool, Memphis Light, Gas and Water (MLGW) is kicking off its official roll out period for its new Share the Pennies program, which will provide up to $4,000 in home weatherization grants for low-income homeowners. MLGW, TVA’s largest customer and the nation’s largest three-service municipal utility, invited customers with extremely high energy burdens to attend its Caring for the Community kick off event, held at the Orpheum on July 14th. SACE staff were on hand to celebrate, having worked diligently for almost two years with advocacy groups like the Memphis Branch of the NAACP, political leaders, MLGW staff and community members to bring about this new program.

More often than not, Memphians rely on each other in the face of a challenge, so it’s only appropriate that now, when other options are unavailable in the short-term, Memphians are turning to each other to help lift unnecessarily high energy burdens that are contributing to an intergenerational cycle of poverty. You can get involved with this effort by clicking here.