Clean Energy Plan Will Cut Electric Bills

The Clean Power Plan will help keep electric rates from rising and save Floridians money, according to a new study. (DMedina/morguefile)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Without changes in the way electricity is produced and how it is used, Floridians will likely see a nearly 17 percent increase in their electric bills over the next 15 years, according to a new study from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

But the study also says that doesn’t have to happen. The report finds that implementing the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan could halt that increase, saving the average Florida household more than $2,600 over the same period.

Marilyn Brown, a Georgia Tech professor and the study’s author, says the report clarifies a lot of misinformation.

“A lot of analysts say that the Clean Power Plan is going to bankrupt the nation,” she relates. “But what we’re showing is in fact, if done wisely, we can save consumers money and also prevent fossil fuels from heating up the planet.”

The Clean Power Plan, introduced in 2015, aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 32 percent by 2030, increase the use of renewables such as solar and wind and implement efficiency measures.

The plan was challenged in the courts and, as a result, states are not required to submit their plans for implementation until the case is resolved.

Brown says the plan reduces the use of fossil fuels such as coal and gas to generate power, not only cutting costs, but significantly reducing greenhouse gases and slowing the rate of climate change.

She adds that another major element of the plan – one that is often misunderstood – is implementing energy efficiency measures.

“Energy efficiency is not taking cold showers and drinking warm beer,” Brown points out. “It’s not suffering. It’s not consuming less in order to cut your bills. It means using energy more wisely, purchasing and using equipment in a more efficient manner.”

The report also finds that by reducing emissions, the plan also would improve the nation’s health, preventing thousands of illnesses, premature deaths and hospital admissions each year. 6.27.16