Florida’s largest power firms had been profitable in gutting state energy financial savings targets in 2014 – this time – lots of them are decided to bury the targets as soon as and for all. That means unnecessarily larger payments for onerous-working households and small companies.
George Cavros | July 9, 2019
Florida’s largest power firms had been profitable in gutting state energy savings goals in 2014 – this time – lots of them are decided to bury the targets as soon as and for all. That means unnecessarily larger payments for onerous-working households and small companies.
Energy financial savings targets are set each 5 years for a ten-yr interval by the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC). Three power firms, Gulf Power, Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA), and Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) have proposed energy financial savings (discount in energy use) targets of zero. Florida Power & Light (FPL), the state’s largest power firm has proposed slashing targets that had been set for it in 2014 by 99.9%. .
These proposed targets, if permitted, would successfully remove entry to utility-sponsored energy effectivity packages for 6.2 million households and companies – depriving effectively over half the state’s electrical energy prospects of packages that assist them cut back energy use and lower your expenses on payments.
In Florida, the place so many households are working a number of jobs, simply to get by – that’s a punch in the intestine.
A Race to the Bottom
Florida’s largest utilities already badly trail main utilities in the Southeast and all through the nation in delivering energy financial savings to prospects. As a share of annual electrical energy gross sales in 2017, Florida had the second to worst efficiency in the Southeast area (beating solely Alabama). In the identical yr, the nationwide common was 5 instances larger than Florida, and effectivity financial savings in California, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont had been 15-25 instances larger.
These states make investments in energy effectivity as a result of it’s the lowest price useful resource for assembly demand and lowers complete utility system prices, which in flip reduces payments for all prospects. The targets proposed by the utilities in this spherical of objective setting would cement Florida’s place on the backside as a laggard on serving to prospects use energy smarter – IF the PSC chooses to undertake them.
Why it issues
Cutting energy waste is the most affordable, quickest and cleanest answer for lowering payments and tackling the problem of a altering climate. It not solely reduces payments for households and companies that undertake measures, but additionally reduces payments for all prospects by lowering total system prices, together with the quantity of gas the utility burns and deferring the necessity for future expensive power vegetation. It’s a no-brainer and state coverage makers must be solidly behind reducing waste, serving to prospects make their properties safely comfy, whereas defending the environment for future generations.
And whereas all of us desire a safer and extra comfy house, it’s typically the households that stay month to month which can be most in danger from not getting the knowledge and monetary assets to make key investments in their properties.
With a low-earnings inhabitants totaling greater than 5 million people (36.8%) throughout the utilities’ mixed service territories, and the high energy burdens that trigger monetary vulnerability, there’s a essential want for significant energy financial savings targets, and energy effectivity packages centered on this essential buyer section.
Zero just isn’t a objective; neither is near zero
The utilities file proposed ten-yr targets primarily based on their very own evaluation of what they declare is achievable, however repeatedly the businesses depress the outcomes by utilizing significantly flawed screening assessments that remove virtually each obtainable effectivity possibility. The peculiar screening strategies utilized by Florida utilities in their filings are usually not allowed in every other state, which explains why even the commonest, extremely price-efficient measures being carried out throughout the nation had been excluded in the businesses’ proposed energy saving targets. Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, in our testimony, reveals the many ways the power firms “put their thumb on the scale” in growing their targets, and why energy savings are critical to onerous working households. How dangerous is it? In the case of Florida Power & Light, the corporate proposed an energy saving objective for residential prospects (116 MWhs over ten years) that’s equal to the energy use of only one house – in a service territory with over 5 million prospects! Really?
Not all Florida utilities are racing to the underside. Tampa Electric’s proposed objective, for occasion, is roughly 165 instances extra strong than FPL’s – but its utility buyer base is 13 instances smaller than FPL’s. Hmmm . . ? This distinction exhibits, at a minimal, that the utilities’ testimony highlighting the parade of horribles that can happen with expanded energy financial savings for prospects just isn’t credible.
The as soon as in a 5-yr alternative is true now
The excellent news is that there’s a possibility to cease this harmful pattern and reset Florida’s embarrassing energy financial savings efficiency. A listening to on the PSC, Florida’s utility regulating physique, is about to start on August 12th, with a ultimate resolution possible in early November. The PSC decides whether or not or to not approve or deny the “energy savings goals” FPL, JEA, OUC, TECO and Gulf Power have proposed. Now is the time for prospects to succeed in out to the Commission and allow them to know that zero just isn’t a objective. Make your voice heard – here.
With among the highest payments in the nation, Floridians want aid. Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, in its testimony, has supplied an inexpensive path ahead. Peer utilities in the Southeast have proven that energy financial savings as much as 1.5% are achievable, however Florida must ramp up now. The time is lengthy overdue for Florida to hitch the states which can be meaningfully investing in low price energy financial savings – onerous-working households and small companies are relying on it.