Letter: Get involved in PSC energy vote

At its upcoming June 26 meeting, the Louisiana Public Service Commission will vote on whether to keep or scrap the state’s energy efficiency programs. This is an issue of vital concern for Louisiana’s economy and environment. Utilizing energy more efficiently saves money for consumers, capacity for utilities and reduces pollution for everyone.

Wasting energy that we still pay for merely increases cost and pollution with no discernible benefit. The opposition to energy efficiency by some members of the commission is hard to understand, given the long record of successful energy efficiency programs run by the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources.

Even more striking, Louisiana stands to lose out on the national trend of increasing energy efficiency to benefit its economy. The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy released a recent report that estimated Louisiana could save over $4 billion in costs to consumers and businesses and support over 27,000 jobs by 2030 by improving its energy efficiency. (http://aceee.org/press/2013/05/energy-efficiency-programs-and-polic).

The improved energy efficiency rules passed by the PSC last December under its previous leadership were the result of an open process of involvement by consumers and businesses. The PSC voted in February to rescind the new rules without allowing public comment, and it has taken a lawsuit by nongovernmental groups to bring the issue back for a public vote. That should not have been necessary, but the public’s interest will still not be upheld without citizen involvement. Please contact the Louisiana Public Service Commission about this important issue.

Marylee Orr, executive director

Louisiana Environmental Action Network

Baton Rouge