Call for smart meters, net metering in Florida

Washington, DC, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — June 29, 2007 – Offerings and marketing of time-of-use rates to residential and commercial customers and net metering laws that allow customer-owned, interconnected renewable energy systems to receive credit for electrical power supplied to the utility at full retail tariff value are among recommendations made for growing opportunities for energy efficiency and renewable energy in Florida.

The study, entitled “Potential for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to Meet Florida’s Growing Energy Demands” from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), says that Florida is among the fastest growing states in the U.S., with an electricity demand growing faster than its population. To sustain this rapid economic and population growth, the state needs to take action to meet the resulting increases in energy needs.

Noting that a particular challenge is peak demand, which in recent years has grown slightly faster than regular day-to-day electricity demand, the study focuses on slowing the demand growth with energy efficiency resources and demand response, and diversifying the supply resources with renewables. To this end a robust demand response effort along with eleven specific policies are recommended for the state to consider adopting:

  • Utility-sector energy efficiency policies and programs
  • Appliance and equipment standards
  • Building energy codes
  • Advanced building program
  • Improved combined heat and power policies
  • Industrial competitiveness initiative
  • State and municipal buildings program
  • Short-term public education and rate incentives
  • Expanded research, development and demonstration efforts
  • Renewable portfolio standard
  • Onsite renewables program.

The ACEEE says in the study that the Florida Public Service Commission should encourage utilities to expand time-of-use rates to residential and commercial customers, and assure cost recovery for utility investments in advanced metering and communications systems. The Commission should also consider requiring that all industrial and commercial customers over a stated consumption level, e.g. 500 kW, be given an advanced meter and a well designed time-of-use rate, while for smaller commercial loads utilities should be encouraged to establish programs for automated demand response using building controls.

It is also recommended that mandatory demand response targets be set for all Florida utilities, and that direct load control devices, such as programmable communicating thermostats, should be installed on all new residential and commercial buildings.

On net metering, this is stated to be an essential policy for making customer-owned solar electric systems attractive.

Together all these initiatives have the potential to save Florida nearly 30 percent of its projected needs for electricity in 2023 with a saving on Florida consumers’ electricity bills of $28 billion – enough to cover the state’s entire education and transportation budgets for 2007, according to the study.

“Energy efficiency is the most affordable energy resource in Florida,” says R. Neal Elliott, Industrial Program Director at ACEEE and lead author on the report.  “While the targets may seem challenging other states are already reducing electricity growth faster than that.”