Florida Utilities Drag State Efficiency Ranking Down

This post is co-authored by Brandi Colander, NRDC, and John D. Wilson, SACE.

ACEEE ranked the states for their energy efficiency efforts. Depicted here is one part of the overall score, dealing with utility energy efficiency programs. Florida ranked 30th in the country, scoring less than 25% of the possible score.

ACEEE ranked the states for their energy efficiency efforts. Depicted here is one part of the overall score, dealing with utility energy efficiency programs. Florida ranked 30th in the country, scoring less than 25% of the possible score.

Florida is the dim bulb in the otherwise efficiency-dark Southeast, and the 2009 Energy Efficiency Scorecard from ACEEE shows how badly its electric utilities are dragging Florida’s ranking down. Slipping from 19th to 23rd in the country in a much-improved study, the impact of Governor Charlie Crist’s leadership on energy policy hasn’t shown up in a comparison with other states.

This report is extremely timely because it shows the extraordinary customer savings that Florida could achieve if the Florida Public Service Commission approves strong energy efficiency goals on October 27th. Florida’s utilities have put forward a deeply-flawed status quo proposal for the next ten years of energy efficiency. In the ACEEE study, Florida’s utilities received only 4 out of a possible 20 points for their efficiency programs, ranking Florida 30th in the country for “Efficiency Programs and Policies.”

Furthermore, most of the states with lower rankings than Florida are not actively engaged in scaling up energy efficiency. Therefore, of those states with any significant efficiency programs, Florida ranks near the bottom. This is in direct contrast to FPL’s claim that it is the “the nation’s leading utility in customer energy efficiency programs.”

Per customer, Florida’s utilities are achieving approximately one-tenth of the amount of energy efficiency as leading states. And we’re not the only ones who are noticing: the Florida Chamber of Commerce recently commented on several areas where Florida lags in competitiveness, including Florida’s average energy consumption. And the state’s economic development authority, Enterprise Florida, has laid out “Sustainable Energy” as part of a “crucial” agenda for the state. Growing Florida’s “energy efficiency industry” is not just a matter of saving money or using energy more wisely, it is about building a sustainable need for a skilled local workforce.

Increasing energy efficiency by a factor of ten would mean a major change in the way Florida utilities do business. Floridians deserve this opportunity.

Increasing energy efficiency by a factor of ten would mean a major change in the way Florida utilities do business. Floridians deserve this opportunity.

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