On Tuesday, October 27, 2009, the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) has its first real chance to show that it stands on the side of Florida consumers not utilities, when it sets energy efficiency goals for the state’s largest power companies. Florida’s electricity customers have shouldered significant rate increases in recent years from spiking fuel prices and soaring power plant construction costs. Additional rate increases are being hotly debated now before the PSC. Yet, Commissioners can bring quick relief to customers by setting meaningful energy efficiency goals that will reduce customers’ bills. At the same time, energy efficiency will also create jobs in Florida and put the state on a path toward a clean energy economy by lowering greenhouse gas emissions.
Florida’s utilities are achieving approximately one-tenth of the amount of energy efficiency as leading states. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) and the Commission Staff’s own witness, Richard Spellman of GDS Associates, proposed goals of saving approximately one percent of energy demand every year through energy efficiency. Seventeen states have set a minimum target of at least one percent of energy demand because doing so saves consumers money on their bills by reducing utility fuel costs and deferring the need to build costly new power plants. The PSC will be burdening Florida consumers with billions of dollars in unnecessary energy costs well into the future if they do not enact meaningful energy efficiency goals.
In total, the energy efficiency goals proposed by Richard Spellman and those proposed by NRDC and SACE would save approximately eight times as much energy as the amount proposed by Florida’s big power companies and the proposed goals of PSC Staff. The power companies’ and Staff’s proposed goals represent business as usual at the PSC guaranteeing higher rates for years to come. # # # Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a not-for-profit, non partisan organization working to promote responsible energy choices that solve global warming problems and ensure clean, safe, healthy communities throughout the Southeast. www.cleanenergy.org