Public Service Commission Could Strengthen Energy Efficiency Incentives
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11/11/09 Kate Bradshaw
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday | Listen to this entire show:

On the heels of a summer of record breaking highs – and amid an ongoing recession, cutting energy costs is on the minds of many consumers. The Florida Public Service Commission was asked to come up with energy conservation goals for the state’s seven major utility providers. Yesterday, the commission sent its staff back to the drawing board, citing that the goals were weak. Southern Alliance for Clean Energy Attorney George Cavros says the goals were not anywhere near where they should be.

Commissioners Nathan Skop and Nancy Argenziano told staff to come up with a list of goals that included a greater number of incentives for consumers to curb their energy use. Cavros says that reducing excessive energy consumption goes beyond installing compact fluorescent light bulbs.

Many states have effectively implemented energy conservation measures Cavros says, to the point where they have the ability to meet one percent of their energy demands through energy efficiency. So far, he says, Florida has been severely lagging.

Utility companies do not support the measures and claim that they would end up costing more. But Cavros says that while reduced energy usage may initially cause a utility to raise its rates the claim is driven by the utility industry's desire to protect its own bottom line.

Cavros says he applauds the Public Service Commission’s initiative, which has in the past tended to side with the utilities.

Natural Resources Defense Council Attorney Brandi Colander says that the commission’s desire for more rigorous efficiency measures could make Florida a key example for energy and efficiency.

The revised energy conservation goals are due to the commission by December 1st. Public Service Commissioners did not return requests for comment before air time.

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