Florida Public Service Commission Approves Energy Efficiency Programs
This week, the Florida Public Service Commission voted 4-1 to approve modifications to Duke Energy Florida’s energy efficiency programs. The proposed program expansions were the result of a July 2021 settlement between Duke Energy and Vote Solar, The CLEO Institute, and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE).
Under the new program guidelines, Duke’s Home Energy Check program will provide energy assistance kits to up to 20,000 low-income households per year through 2024. The kits — which include energy-saving tools like LED light bulbs and smart power strips — will help income-qualified households reduce their energy consumption and lower their utility bills.
“Thanks to the Public Service Commission, thousands of low-income families will have access to more energy-saving tools starting in the new year,” says Katie Chiles Ottenweller, Southeast Director at Vote Solar. “These programs benefit all Floridians by cutting energy waste and curbing Florida’s reliance on expensive fossil fuels.”
In addition, 250 additional households will receive energy efficient home improvements through Duke’s Neighborhood Energy Saver Program — a five percent increase over current program enrollment. Potential improvements include weatherstripping, water heater wraps, and digital thermostats.
“Meaningful energy efficiency programs are key to lowering power bills for customers – and easing the energy burden shouldered by underserved families,” says George Cavros, Florida Energy Policy Attorney for the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. “We are pleased the Commission recognized the cost savings benefits of cutting energy waste to both customers and to the utility.”
The agreement also included a commitment by Duke Energy not to disconnect power due to nonpayment during extreme heat or weather events like hurricanes.
“Floridians are on the frontlines of the climate crisis, and given that Florida utilities contribute nearly half of all energy-related carbon pollution in the state, an expansion of the state’s utility investments in energy efficiency is overdue,” says Yoca Arditi-Rocha, Executive Director of The CLEO Institute. “We are encouraged by the recognition of this urgent need by the Florida Public Service Commission and hope to see more steps forward.”