Duke Energy’s Save-a-Watt Program Rejected

Guest Blog | February 26, 2009 | Press Releases

Gudrun Thompson (attorney) or Kathleen Sullivan, SELC, 919-967-1450 or [email protected]
Michael Regan, EDF, 919-862-6593 or [email protected]
Ben Moore, SCCCL, 843-725-2063 or [email protected]
Christina Honkonen, SACE, 865-228-1567 or [email protected]

Columbia, S.C. – The South Carolina Public Service Commission today rejected Duke Energy Carolinas’ “Save-a-Watt” proposal, citing a range of concerns including lack of transparency to customers and the program’s potential to result in windfall profits to the company. In its decision, the commission expressed a desire to see energy efficiency programs implemented by South Carolina’s investor-owned electric utilities within a year, and urged Duke Energy to return with a proposal that addresses their concerns.

The commission’s concerns and desires are shared by clean energy advocates Environmental Defense Fund, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League, and the Southern Environmental Law Center. The commission’s encouragement is an opportunity to look forward to developing stronger programs by Duke Energy and other stakeholders that encourage energy efficiency while protecting consumers and the environment.

The groups opposed the Save-a-Watt proposal because it would have yielded meager energy savings at an excessive cost to customers. To pay for the program, Duke Energy proposed a compensation scheme that would have billed customers an amount much higher than the actual cost of the measures—85 percent of the cost of new power plants the company would have built if not for the energy efficiency measures.

A nearly-identical case is pending in North Carolina, with a ruling in that case expected at any time. # # # About Environmental Defense Fund
A leading national nonprofit organization, Environmental Defense Fund represents more than 500,000 members. Since 1967, Environmental Defense Fund has linked science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships to create breakthrough solutions to the most serious environmental problems. For more information, visit www.edf.org.

About Coastal Conservation League
The Coastal Conservation League is a grassroots non-profit conservation organization, founded in 1989 to protect the natural environment of the South Carolina coastal plain and to enhance the quality of life of our coastal communities. The League works with individuals, businesses, and government to ensure balanced solutions.

About Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
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.

About Southern Environmental Law Center
Founded in 1986, Southern Environmental Law Center is the only non-profit regional organization dedicated to protecting the native forests, wetlands, air and water quality, wildlife habitat and rural landscapes in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. SELC works in partnership with more than 100 diverse groups on legal advocacy, policy reform and public education to achieve lasting environmental protections. www.SouthernEnvironment.org