Making Sense of Energy

Florida Utilities Want to Cut Back Energy Efficiency Programs

Florida Utilities

Big utility companies in Florida want the state’s regulators to allow them to cut back energy-efficiency programs over the next five years. Whilst wanting to save money on other utilities makes sense (find out how to switch your water supplier to do just that, as one example), this is a more questionable approach to cutting cost.

Specifically, Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy Florida, Tampa Electric, Gulf Power and JEA are claiming that the demand for energy efficiency programs has declined, therefore they should be allowed to scale back some of these programs. (Read article)

These big utilities already spend very little on energy conservation. In spite of this they are requesting a big cut, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Duke Energy is requesting a reduction in savings from 333 GWh by 2019 to 21 GWh, TECO wants a reduction from 39 GWh to 17, and FP&L wants to go from 229 GWh to 4 by 2019.

“The state’s energy future depends almost exclusively on construction of expensive new power plants, the utilities argued in preparation for the Public Service Commission hearing and in their previous public statements.

The utilities see little merit in any other strategy.

Solar energy? Not reliable. Increased efforts to encourage use of energy efficient appliances and building practices? Not “cost effective.” Studies that show it is cheaper to conserve power than to generate it? Misleading.” – Tampa Bay Times article.

Energy Manager Today wrote that “Opponents say the utilities want to cut the energy efficiency programs so that demand for energy will increase and they can justify building new power plants.”

“This is the best quote. I would suggest most regulators allow these same steps here in Canada and certainly, the Utilities Consumer Advocate (USA) in Alberta has been ineffective in keeping regulated rates in check,” said Chris Vilcsak, President and CEO of Solution 105.

What do you think?