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Florida regulators approve DSM plans over staff objections

image credit: Credit: Peveeta Persaud/Duke Energy
DW Keefer's picture
Journalist Independent Journalist and Analyst

DW Keefer is a Denver-based energy journalist who writes extensively for national and international publications on all forms of electric power generation, utility regulation, business models...

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  • Jul 15, 2020
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Florida utility regulators approved Demand Side Management (DSM) plans and programs as filed by Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy Florida; Tampa Electric, Gulf Power, and Florida Public Utilities.

Rejecting PSC staff’s recommendation to continue existing programs, commissioners decided that the utilities’ new programs would achieve conservation goals and have no adverse cost impact to customers.

PSC Chairman Gary Clark said in a statement that overall program costs would be slightly less for customers, "so we found the utility programs to be in the public interest.”

Commissioners agreed that DSM is an effective conservation resource in Florida and should continue to be a key factor in meeting the state’s future electric energy needs. 

The commission sets goals at least once every five years for each of the seven utilities subject to the Florida Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act (FEECA). Established in 1980, FEECA is intended to reduce the need for additional power plants and fossil fuel use by requiring utilities to implement cost-effective energy efficiency programs.

The PSC had earlier approved DSM plans for the Orlando Utilities Commission and JEA.

Commission staff said that FPL proposed to cut incentives for commercial and industrial users by 30% and that six of FPL's 15 DSM proposals failed to meet a Rate Impact Measure test designed to gauge how programs might affect customer bills.

Staff also said that 10 of Gulf Power's 11 programs, two of Tampa Electric's 37 programs, and all five of Florida Public Utilities' programs failed the same test. All of Duke Energy Florida's programs passed.

The commission's Division of Engineering and Office of the General Counsel recommended that the commission reject the IOU's proposals. Staff urged that  existing, previously approved programs be continued. The commission rejected the recommendation and approved the utilities' plans and related programs.

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