Florida’s giant private utility companies push to cut back on their energy conservation programs

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There’s a big debate this week in Tallahassee about whether the giant private utility companies will be allowed to cut back on their energy conservation programs. Today on Radioactivity, Rob Lorei speaks with Susan Glickman, the Florida Director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy Action Fund- a group that is fighting the giant electric companies.

The Associated Press reported that Florida’s biggest electric providers are asking state regulators this week to let them scale back energy-efficiency programs such as rebates for installing solar panels and power-saving appliances that they say have become expensive and benefit few customers.

But clean energy advocates say that dramatically reducing energy-efficiency programs will only result in higher monthly bills for customers as the utilities eventually will need to build more natural-gas and nuclear power plants.

On Monday, Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy Florida, Tampa Electric Co., Gulf Power Co. and JEA in Jacksonville began presenting testimony to the Florida Public Service Commission that they should be allowed to roll back energy-efficiency goals, as demand for the conservation programs has declined.

Rep. Dwight Dudley, D-St. Petersburg, said customers’ electricity bills have dropped because of conservation efforts and “slashing” the energy-efficiency programs will simply allow the power companies to make more money.

The hearing is expected to last three days. Two extra days have been set aside next week if the review runs long.

The commission isn’t expected to make a ruling on any of the requests until late fall.

Here are ways for consumers to contact the Florida Public Service Commission (FPSC):

· Complete an online complaint/contact form

· E-mail correspondence to [email protected]

· Call the toll-free number at 1-800-342-3552

· Fax information toll-free at 1-800-511-0809

· Send mail to: Florida Public Service Commission

Office of Consumer Assistance & Outreach

2540 Shumard Oak Boulevard

Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0850

For more information about the Commission, visit the FPSC’s website at: