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11/13/2008 Contact: 850-413-6482

Florida Public Service Commission Approves Two Pilot Energy Efficiency Programs for Gulf Power

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) today made it easier for customers of Gulf Power Company (Gulf) to use solar power.  By approving solar thermal water heating as part of Gulf’s demand-side management program, along with an expanded energy education program, the PSC continues efforts to raise awareness and increase customer use of renewable energy.

“Adding solar thermal water heating to Gulf’s energy portfolio will provide an incentive for customers to take advantage of renewable technologies and to demand less electricity from Gulf Power,” said PSC Chairman Matthew M. Carter II.  “The pilot program will encourage the use of solar energy in the home, helping to make it a part of everyday life.”

Gulf will monitor and evaluate the solar thermal water heating pilot program to gauge customer interest and acceptance of the technology.  The monitoring and evaluation process will also help determine what incentives could encourage more customers to install the systems.  Gulf will offer $1,000 rebates to customers who install the systems and are willing to meet other program criteria.  A limited number of solar thermal water heating systems will also be installed at no cost in low income, multi-family apartments.

The Commission also approved the implementation of a pilot energy education program to raise awareness of the importance of energy efficiency and conservation.  Through outreach to the public, schools, civic groups, and contractors, the education effort is aimed at increasing participation in all of Gulf’s energy efficiency and conservation programs.

The one-year pilot programs begin in January 2009 and will be reviewed in 2010 when the Commission establishes new energy efficiency goals, in coordination with recent changes in Florida’s energy policy.  The Commission will then evaluate the solar water heating and energy education programs to determine their effectiveness and their potential for continuation.

Gulf Power Company serves 420,000 customers, who are primarily located in the Florida Panhandle.

The PSC is committed to making sure that Florida's consumers receive their electric, natural gas, telephone, water, and wastewater services in a safe, affordable, and reliable manner. The PSC exercises regulatory authority over utilities in the areas of rate base/economic regulation; competitive market oversight; and monitoring of safety, reliability, and service.

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