Tuesday, August 31, 2010
PSC delays action on contested utilities' conservation plans
The Florida Public Service Commission on Tuesday agreed to delay action until September on energy conservation plans proposed by six utilities.
The PSC adopted conservation goals in January for the state's five largest electric utilities and two city-owned utilities. They are subject to the Florida Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act (FEECA), adopted by the Legislature in 2008.
In March, those utilities submitted 10-year plans outlining the cost of the PSC conservation goals.
But PSC staff says the plans submitted by Florida Power & Light, Progress Energy and Gulf Power failed to meet the conservation goals established by the commission. As requested by staff, the commission agreed Tuesday to delay consideration for those three utilities in addition to Tampa Electric Co., the Florida Public Utilities Co. and JEA, formerly Jacksonville Electric Authority, so that additional calculations related to the plans could be performed.
The commission approved the conservation plan for the Orlando Utilities Commission as recommended by PSC staff.
The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy has intervened in the cases, saying that Progress Energy is exaggerating costs of conservation. A Progress Energy spokesman responded Tuesday that the that utility relied on the Itron consulting firm from Oakland, California to develop a conservation plan that protects customers from increased costs for conservation in the first years.
Progress Energy proposed increasing the cost from the current $3.24 per month to $6.38 the first year and eventually to $30.17 in year 10. The average monthly cost would be $16.76. The company says the cost would jump to $14.08 the first year without the more gradual approach and that the 10-year average would be about the same.
"We believe that the best way to achieve the aggressive goals mandated by the Florida Public Service Commission is to do it in a way that limits the price impact on customers in today's economy," said Tim Leljedal, a Progress Energy spokesman. "That's why we propose a gradual approach, but doing it in a way that we can still achieve the overall goal within 10 years."
In comparison, Florida Power & Light said in March that energy conservation would vary between $2.83 and $4.32 per month, compared to $2.26 now. The PSC set a lower conservation goal for FP&L than for Progress Energy.
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