Florida utility regulators call for stronger energy-saving goals for utility companies

Signaling another shift in direction at the Public Service Commission, Florida utility regulators ordered their staff Tuesday to come up with ``more robust'' energy conservation goals that reward customers for using less energy.

The panel unanimously agreed to postpone a decision on energy conservation goals after commissioners Nathan Skop and Nancy Argenziano chastised the staff for setting the goals too low. By law, the commission must set a conservation goal for electric companies to meet each year for the next five years, and then come up with a plan to reward them financially for exceeding the goal or punish them for failing to meet it.

Skop accused the staff of coming up with a plan that tries ``to align with everything the utilities wanted.'' He said the conservation goals recommended by PSC staff were so low that companies like Florida Power and Light and Progress Energy could easily meet them and then obtain the financial reward for little effort.

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