Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Floridians Flood Public Service Commission, Demand Clean Energy Savings

Two weeks ago, more than 100 members of the Sunshine State Clean Energy Coalition descended upon the Public Service Commission (PSC) hearing in Tallahassee as it reviewed energy companies' request to reduce efficiency standards. The Coalition called on state regulators rather to strengthen, not weaken, energy efficiency programs to save consumers money on their power bills, create jobs and promote cleaner air.
Members of the Coalition held its "Rally for Energy Savings" outside the PSC hearing because inside the public was barred from speaking on the issue of how Floridians' energy needs are met over the next 10 years.
Rep. Dwight Dudley telling the PSC to open the hearing
to comments from the public.
In remarks just before the hearing opened, State Representative Dwight Dudley echoed the sentiments of the ralliers: "The name Public Service Commission includes the public,” he said. “The public should be heard on this, not hurt. Right now, they're about ready to get hurt.”
Said Ennis Leon Jacobs, past chairman of the Public Service Commission: “Increasing energy savings is a business opportunity and Florida is ready to take advantage. Big utility companies like Duke, TECO and FP&L should be bending over backward to help boost Florida’s economy. They can start by bringing their energy savings programs to industry standards this year.”
Bill Bucolo, President of the Democratic Environmental Caucus of Florida and a leader of the Coalition, called on the commissioners to reject the companies’ request to slash energy savings programs. Duke Energy, Tampa Electric and Florida Power & Light have proposed to gut their energy-saving goals by 93 percent. 
Currently, none of Florida’s major utility companies meet national industry standards for energy savings programs, meaning Florida consumers are missing out on savings that people living in other states enjoy. Duke Energy Florida, part of the nation’s largest electric company, has significantly weaker energy savings programs in the Sunshine State than in North and South Carolina and Ohio.
“Duke Energy is saving their customers in Ohio, North Carolina and South Carolina money through good energy efficiency programs, but they’re not doing the same for their customers in Florida. Florida consumers should get the same opportunities and benefits as Duke customers elsewhere,” said Kelly Martin, senior campaign representative with Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign. 
Ralliers also heard from Susan Glickman, Florida Director with the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy Action Fund and Kim Ross, President of ReThink Energy Florida. also spoke out against the utilities' attempt to undermine their ratepayers and the people of Florida.

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Press coverage of  the rally and hearing: Tampa Bay Times:

-- Tim Heberlein, Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign