Meeting conservation goals established by the state for utilities in December will cost Progress Florida customers an average of $13.52 more per month over the next 10 years, according to the utility.
After rejecting an initial staff recommendation in November, the Public Service Commission in December established tougher new conservation goals for five investor-owned utilities and two municipal utilities.
The utilities this week submitted plans to the PSC for meeting those goals. Both Progress Energy and Florida Power & Light propose pilot programs for expanding solar electric or solar water-heating in homes along with more aggressive programs to encourage customers to make their homes more energy-efficient.
Progress Energy says the monthly conservation cost would increase from $3.24 now to $6.38 the first year and eventually $30.17 in year 10. The average monthly cost would be $16.76.
In comparison, Florida Power & Light Co. says energy conservation would vary between $2.83 and $4.32, compared to $2.26 now. The PSC set a lower conservation goal for FP&L than for Progress Energy.
The Progress Energy goal is more than five times what the company had proposed. In its plan submitted to the agency, Progress Energy emphasized the uncertainty of meeting the conservation goal.
"Progress Energy will endeavor to achieve the extremely aggressive conservation goals that the commission has mandated," the utility said in its plan. "Although Progress Energy is proposing a plan to implement the commission's new aggressive goals, it is unclear at this time whether meeting such aggressive goals is feasible."
The PSC is expected to consider the plans in June or July and would consider approving the conservation costs in November, an agency spokeswoman said.
During a meeting of the House Energy & Utilities Policy Committee last week, a PSC official was grilled by Rep. Mike Horner, R-Kissimmee, on the costs of conservation measures imposed on utility customers who cannot afford to buy solar energy products that earn them rebates. Horner said after the meeting he wants a committee bill to address the issue. Read the April 2 story by clicking here.
Audubon of Florida responded over the weekend by telling members that the state's recent conservation gains are at risk. To read the Audubon report, click here.
(Photo courtesy of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Story used with permission from The Current, produced by The Florida Tribune. Do not copy or redistribute without permission.)