Florida Public Service Commission Disappoints

Guest Blog | December 1, 2009 | Press Releases

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Public Service Commission met today in Tallahassee to set the 10-year efficiency goals for the state’s largest power companies. Despite thoughtful discussion on how to make energy efficiency more widely available to customers, the Commission set disappointing efficiency goals of only about 3.5% energy savings over a ten-year period. The goal is less than half of the goal recommended by the Commission staff’s own expert. Leading states on efficiency have set goals that are at least three times higher than the goals set today.

On a positive note, the Commission relied on a cost-effectiveness test that makes efficiency measures more widely available to customers; departing with the past practice of using a test that restricts measures that significantly reduce electricity bills. Despite this, the Commission still followed other measures advocated by the staff and utilities that kept the most cost-effective efficiency measures from being included in the goals.

Several of the Commissioners appeared to wish to set stronger goals but were held back by poor advice from the Commission staff. Unfortunately, the Commission staff continued to portray the benefits of meaningful energy efficiency programs in a negative manner. The staff simply did not offer Commissioners appropriate information on which to act.

“The resulting goals leave a lot of customer savings on the table, said Susan Glickman, a consultant with the Natural Resources Defense Council and Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, “sadly, this keeps Florida in the back of the pack when compared to the leading states on energy efficiency.”

In a welcome step, the Commission also mandated that Florida utilities provide incentives for investment in solar water heater and solar photovoltaic systems. The incentive should help the “sunshine state” drive investment in small-scale solar systems. # # #