State House Rep. Joe Gibbons recently addressed the critical need that low-income utility customers have for expanded energy efficiency programs. As demonstrated in a recent study by Florida Power & Light , low-income residents participate in energy efficiency programs at the same rate as other income groups. A few excerpts from his essay.
“A failure to achieve greater energy efficiency hurts all of Florida’s electricity customers, particularly low- and fixed-income customers, because it deprives them of the help they need to reduce their electricity bills.”
“Making efficiency programs available to low-income residents is especially valuable because those groups pay a greater share of their income on energy bills compared with more affluent residents. Efficiency saves twice – cutting utility bills and helping the homeowner or renter cut energy waste.”
“What’s more, implementing energy efficiency creates jobs – especially critical in a state approaching 12-percent unemployment. Improving efficiency requires a work force of electricians, air conditioning installers, carpenters, roofers and more to deliver the services and products that reduce customer bills. Efficiency can add nearly 20,000 Florida jobs by achieving 15-percent energy savings by 2020, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.”
“Any way you look at it, efficiency should play a larger role in the lives of Floridians. The savings are especially critical to lower-income customers. While the PSC has taken a step in the right direction, more needs to be done to make efficiency opportunities even more widely available to customers.”
You can read the whole essay, published in the Tallahassee Democrat here.