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Florida PSC decides to avoid rolling back energy efficiency goals

Source: 
Communicate

The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) rejected its own staff recommendations to adopt energy efficiency goals of zero and voted to maintain the states current energy conservation goals through 2025.

Thousands of consumers across the state raised their voices and called on Commissioners to enact meaningful and robust energy efficiency goals. Although Floridas current energy savings goals still lag behind national goals and must be strengthened, the Commissions decision to reject the near-zero goals proposed by utilities is a better outcome for consumers than giving utilities a free pass to do nothing.

The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, League of United Latin American Citizens, Earthjustice and other consumer advocates look forward to engaging in constructive conversations on strengthening Floridas energy conservation goals in order to yield the efficiency savings many other states are seeing. The current efficiency goals that the Public Service Commission voted to extend have earned Florida a ranking of 45th among states for energy efficiency, but the goals proposed earlier this year would have put the state at the bottom of the rankings.

George Cavros, Florida Policy Attorney with the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy said, Florida families and businesses got a reprieve today as the Florida Public Service Commission held the line on efficiency goals. The continuation of the current goals, while anemic relative to other states achievements, are an improvement on the zero, or near-zero, goals proposed by the states power companies. Energy efficiency is and always has been the cheapest, quickest and cleanest way to meet our energy needs.

Mari Corugedo, Florida State Director at the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) noted, As the nations oldest and largest Latino civil rights organization, the League of United Latin American Citizens in Florida is extremely concerned with the negative impacts of high energy burdens on Latinos and other front-line communities in the state. The Public Service Commissions decision today is a mixed bag. While they rejected their staff recommendation of zero or near zero goals, they did not adopt the meaningful goals that are needed to produce real energy savings. We need robust and meaningful energy efficiency goals to help lower costs for families already dealing with the impacts of dirty energy production, heat stress, flooding, severe weather phenomena, and other climate change related impacts. Every day that goes by without meaningful goals, is a day that working families continue to struggle with high energy burdens.

Were glad that the Public Service Commission rejected the utilities ludicrous goals of zero for energy efficiency, but they should still be aiming significantly higher, said Bradley Marshall, an attorney at the nonprofit legal organization Earthjustice who represents the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy which intervened to get higher energy efficiency goals. Were at the epicenter of the climate crisis and we need to do more about it. Floridians have some of the highest energy bills in the country and energy efficiency is the best way to give Florida families some relief. Communities throughout the State have been demanding more robust goals, and well keep working until all of their voices are heard.

Discussions

Rick Chalker's picture
Rick Chalker on Nov 8, 2019 6:01 pm GMT

I am very disappointed in the FPSC and their political stance along with the self-interests of organizations that purport to be for the disadvantaged. The comment that they are "concerned with negative impacts of high energy burdens on Latinos and other front-line communities in the state," is a bunch of hot air. What don't these organizations understand about the calcualtions that go into determining whether an "energy efficiency" program is in the best interests of "ALL" customers, not just the rich or the disadvantaged. The calculations are based on many variables that determines whether a certain "energy efficiency" program is the least cost option. The recent calculations prove that the cost of almost all energy efficiency programs do not cost less than the natural gas and solar power plants being built. So, rather than reducing electric rates because fuel costs are declining, they are demanding paying higher costs for "energy efficiency" programs. I am not sure who the winners are here, except for the vested interest non-profits and other vested interest organizations.

"Communities throughout the State have been demanding more robust goals", states the article. Where have these people been since the late 70's when the conservation programs first began in Florida. FPL has, over the years, had some of the most robust "energy conservation/energy efficiency" programs in the country and has been a leader in reducing energy demand by thousands of mW.

This article has a statement that indicates the real purpose of these organizations, "We need robust and meaningful energy efficiency goals to help lower costs for families already dealing with the impacts of dirty energy production, heat stress, flooding, severe weather phenomena, and other climate change related impacts". The opposition toward lowering costs by doing the RIGHT thing is driven by their ulterior motive of changing the world because of something they cannot explain by calling it climate change. Where is the dirty energy production in Florida? If you have heat stress, let me suggest a possible move to Nevada, Texas or some other state where temperatures in the summer are well above those in Florida. Flooding is nothing new to Florida but has been exaserbated by governments that have allowed homes to be built where they should not be built and not building infrastructure along with the new construction. What can one say about severe weather and climate change other than, GO BACK AND STUDY HISTORY. Earth's history proves that climate change has been going on since the beginning of time and it is not going to stop because we throw money at it willy nilly. 

This article states, "Floridians have some of the highest energy bills in the country and energy efficiency is the best way to give Florida families some relief". If this was the arguement used by these organizations the FPSC should be ashamed of their decision. Statistics prove that FPL's rates are over 30% below the national average and well below states with similar population. And FPL just announced another cost reduction because of the solar projects they are building in FLorida. FPL has one of the cleanest energy profiles in the country and by 2030 will generate more solar power that any other state. Don't treat all utilities the same when it will cost customers of FPL more in the long run.

The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) rejected its own staff recommendations to adopt energy efficiency goals of zero and voted to maintain the states current energy conservation goals through 2025. It behooves the FPSC to not become the pawns of the vested interest non-profits and other vested interest organizations which are more interested in fighting superior run utilities to keep donations coming into their organizations so they can keep getting paid.

The FPSC should reconsider this action and do the right thing for ALL the people of Florida.

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