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Sheldon Calls On Public Service Commission To Reject Power Companies’ Request To Cut Energy Conservation Program

Jul 22 • 262 Views • View Comments

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Sheldon Calls On Public Service Commission To Reject
Power Companies’ Request To Cut Energy Conservation Program

TALLAHASSEE, FL — Attorney General candidate George Sheldon released the following statement during a press conference at the Florida Press Center:

Today I’m calling on the Public Service Commission to reject power companies’ requests to reduce energy conservation.

The PSC has been holding hearings this week to consider power companies’ program that has been in existence for more than 30 years. The program has generated $2.6 billion in conservation program expenditures just in the last 10 years. Now four of the state’s largest utilities want to stop helping consumers reduce their electricity consumption at the same time they are asking customers to pay for billions of dollars in new generating plants that will add to pollution and raise their rates.

This Public Service Commission has been doling out increases to these utilities for years. It is incredible that this state could have a power-generation policy for the future that does not involve a major effort at energy conservation. 

If I were attorney general, I would be intervening actively in this case. Every attorney general dating back to Richard Ervin and on through Bob Butterworth, Charlie Crist and Bill McCollum has intervened in rate cases.

I had a leading role in the creation of this program as chairman of the House Regulatory Reform Committee in 1980, which led a sunset review of the PSC.  

The legislation is called the Florida Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act, or FEECA. An evaluation of this program for the PSC by the University of Florida concluded in its first recommendation: Based on the analysis presented in this report, the research team believes that FEECA continues to be in the public interest, subject to certain qualifications.”  The report also noted that other state agencies, such as the Department of Environmental Protection, have responsibility for planning for the state’s future energy demand. This is not just another rate case. It will affect rates and energy policy for many, many years.

It appears the power companies want to stop helping consumers reduce their utility bills, so consumers will buy more power from them in the years ahead, and they want to charge consumers more for the power they buy. That is the double-whammy that will hit consumers.

The Public Service Commission and the people of Florida need a full understanding of the voodoo economics put forward by the utilities to get rid of this successful program.

Here’s the power company view of economics:

  • They charge customers for building new power plants.
  • They charge customers for repairing and shutting down those power plants that don’t meet expectations.
  • They charge customers for the fuel and the scrubbers and all the cleanup equipment.
  • They charge customers for building another new power plant.

But they won’t help customers save on their power consumption. They are claiming it is cheaper to waste energy than to do conservation. So consumers use more power and pay more for it.

I do not want to prejudge the case for new plants, but we as a state cannot proceed on the basis that energy conservation should not be part of our future efforts. That’s why the attorney general should play a leading role in the fact-finding process in these cases.

As an attorney general who is the people’s lawyer, I will intervene in these cases and insist on fairness in hearings, on full presentation of the facts, and on decisions that serve the public interest.

CONTACT: Madelyn M. Skene | 850-445-9555 | mmskene@comcast.net

 

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