BY SAM FIELDS
Once again the Public Utilities Commission and Florida Power & Light continue to look for a solution for an energy shortage that does not exist.
Simply put, we do not need to add one overpriced watt of electrical capacity to meet the needs of Florida for the next twenty years. What we need is improved efficiency which is cheaper, safer and proven.
I should know. I have reduced my electrical demand between 30 and 40 percent without reducing my lifestyle one bit.
The first thing I did was have FPL come out and do a free analysis of my home which was built in 1978. I took their report seriously.
I replaced leaky, poorly insulated air conditioning ducts.
When it came time to replace the AC, I paid an extra $1000 to get a system with a 17/18 SEER (efficiency rating).
Incandescent bulbs are a thing of the past in my house.
And, of course, there are the most important three words–insulation, insulation and insulation.
I also joined the FPL “On Line” program. In the case of peak use they can shut off my pool pump and/or AC for twenty minutes per hour. I don’t think they have used it once but I get paid every month for participating. I have been paid over $1500. Why is this not the law for every Florida home?
I have looked into solar power. Currently it’s not worth it. With the exception of solar hot water (which I installed) it will cost you at least five times as much to create a watt of electricity than eliminate the need for that watt. That rule, or something close to it, applies to these proposals for giant solar, nuclear, biomass etc. projects.
My cost has been somewhere between eight to ten thousand dollars.
I was able to pay cash for all these improvements. For those who can’t pay cash we need a program to allow financing through electric bills. Financed over seven years (at say 5%) it would be a net monthly savings. After seven years its all savings all the time.
Unfortunately the Public Service Commission, like FPL, has an “Edifice Complex”. Their answer to all problems lies in building giant things.