In the early 2000’s, Florida’s utility companies were faced with an exploding population, increased energy consumption and a growing need for more generation capacity. The state was facing a crisis. Florida’s Public Service Commission, which govern the public utilities, faced a dire energy situation. To address the problems say saw, the commissioners voted to promote energy conservation by advocating home and business owners conserving energy through the use of more efficient air conditioning, heating systems and appliances, and increase the use of solar. To do this, the utility companies were asked to provide incentives to invest in their own future instead of simply building more generating capacity.
Florida is known for its warm, sunny climate. With so many homes and businesses having aging air conditioning and heating systems, the most cost effective way to become more energy conscious would be to replace those aging systems with high efficiency air conditioning systems and appliances. Additionally, Florida, known as the Sunshine State, solar was a perfect solution to reduce the states demand for more power.
The Commission ultimately voted and approved to initiate their conservation program. Over the years, their energy rebate programs became hugely popular and proved to dramatically reduce the growing demand for power. They were so successful in fact, that the total energy used by the state remained relatively flat. Quietly, the stockholders of the states utility companies didn’t like how successful these programs were and decided to change this through and active lobbying effort to slash these popular programs. It became very clear that they were more interested in selling more energy – not less.
Florida’s Energy Conservation Decline
That all began to change with the state’s new leadership and a very active lobbying effort which put two lobbies on the payroll for every State Senator. With new commissioners put in place with the Public Service Commission, things began to change every so obvious to those that were watching. Their behind the scenes effort began to unfold in November of 2014 when the state’s energy rebate program for efficient central home air conditioning systems were slashed by an average of $571. It was much worse for home solar panel rebates. They were cut out completely.
These actions were a stark sea change in the policies discussed by Florida’s Public Service Commission in November of 2009. At that meeting, they unanimously voted to postpone setting Florida utilities’ energy conservation goals, criticizing its own staff for not recommending more aggressive conservation standards. But the utility lobbyist got their way and energy credits were either cut back or cut out all together.
All one needs to do is look at the pattern that followed to see a clear trend:
November 25, 2014
Yesterday, Air Conditioning firms across the state were sent a formal letter from FP&L detailing further cuts to their Air Conditioning Energy Rebate Program – yet again !! Effective Oct 1, 2015 (weeks away), FP&L stated that the Residential Air Conditioning program would be nearly shut down completely.
January 11, 2016
Berkun Air, along with 1,600 other air conditioning contractors in Florida, will no longer be allowed to offer FP&L energy rebates for consuming less electric.
November 8, 2016 – Election Day
Why Vote NO on Florida’s Amendment No. 1
On election day, Florida’s citizens are being asked to add an amendment to the states constitution that would dramatically limit where they buy solar power equipment and the power they generate from. This amendment was sponsored by the states utilities firms with a goal to limit your choice. To do this, utilities are spending a record $22 million to confuse the citizens with the language designed to mislead consumers. You heard that right – $22 million. That doesn’t count for the 80 lobbyist that go after the states 40 legislators. That’s 2 lobbyist for every legislator. And you think they have your best interests at hand – or the stockholders. In short, the utility firms want to sell you more energy – not less -period.
Florida, “the sunshine state,” ranks third in the nation after California and Texas for rooftop solar potential, but ranks 14th for cumulative solar capacity installed. Why is that? The public utility companies have lobbied hard to block renewable solar energy on private homes and does not allow power purchase agreements, which again would slash their demand loads. These same utility are investing heavily to block thousands of small businesses that were eager to grow in Florida.
On Election Day, November 8, VOTE NO ON 1