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April 12, 2024

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact: Dionne Watts-Williams, POWER Interfaith, 215-713-4875

dwattswilliams@powerinterfaith.org

“PECO’s Fossil Fuel DSP Wastes Four More Years Of Potential Renewable Investment”
Community Demands Affordable Renewable Energy Over Out-of-Touch Proposal

Philadelphia, PA – In Pennsylvania, electric customers in PECO’s service area have joined forces to challenge the utility to catch up with the nation. The Energy Justice Advocates, consisting of POWER Interfaith, the Sierra Club, PennEnvironment, Vote Solar, Physicians for Social Responsibility and Clean Air Council, are calling on PECO to catch up by providing an energy procurement strategy prioritizing affordable, renewable energy to the approximately 75% of customers served by PECO’s Default Service Plan (DSP.) The group endorses its own energy plan, the People’s Energy Plan. This challenge from the public is a first of its kind in Pennsylvania and an emerging trend in the nation.

Every four years PECO proposes an energy procurement plan, the DSP,  to its state regulator, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC). The PUC’s mandate is to review PECO’s proposal for a “prudent mix” that ensures “least cost over time” energy.

The Energy Justice Advocates are demonstrating that PECO’s procurement strategy is not “least cost over time” because it fails to take advantage of market and technology trends towards affordable, renewable energy. A report from last fall showed that PA is 50th in the nation in growth in renewable energy buildout since 2013. The Energy Justice Advocates are challenging PECO to catch up to market and technology trends and to meet the enormous opportunity of maximizing affordable, renewable energy rather than offer Business-as-Usual in its next round of procurement planning.

In its last DSP,  PECO provided one half of one percent solar energy. PECO is now again seeking  a 4-year approval from the Pennsylvania Utility Commission for the plan, which is overwhelmingly fossil fuel-based energy and contracted under short-term contracts that can be subject to significant price changes over time. PECO’s DSP VI proposal is essentially the same as its past plans, locked into short-term contracts which favor fossil fuels and which are subject to extreme market volatility.

“PECO’s fossil fuel-based service plan is neither financially nor environmentally prudent,” said Linnea Bond, a PECO customer who was among dozens who testified in 2020 at the previous – and first ever – public hearing that the PUC held on PECO’s energy planning.“Since PECO submitted its last DSP, about 144 billion metric tons of carbon and 44 billion tons of carbon equivalent in methane have been released into the atmosphere. Last year was the hottest year on record in the hottest decade on record. We are facing a worsening crisis, yet PECO is holding to the same energy plan they submitted in 2016. They are refusing to upgrade procurement at massive opportunity cost.”

Customers, elected leaders and climate advocates are  urging PECO to move toward affordable zero-emission renewables like solar, geothermal, and tidal. The challenge to the utility will be in dramatic public view at an in-person PUC hearing in Philadelphia on Thursday, April 18, starting at 1:00 at 801 Market St., 6th floor. The hearing is open to the public.

Imam Abdul Halim Hassan, POWER Interfaith, Co-chair of Board of Directors said, “All across the country utilities are benefiting from the fact that renewable energy is becoming more affordable than dirty fossil fuel energy. Here I live in the poorest big city in America, with an extremely high rate of energy burden, and PECO is doing nothing to expand the total amount of affordable, renewable energy in default service. The People’s Energy Plan shows that there is a lot more PECO could do.”

David Masur, Executive Director of PennEnvironment, said: “PECO ratepayers from all walks of life are speaking loudly and clearly in these hearings–they want and expect PECO to increase the renewable electricity in their default service energy mix in order to reduce air and climate pollution, increase reliability, and save ratepayers money. It’s time for PECO to act and create a 21st century energy future instead of keeping its energy mix in the 19th and 20th centuries.”

Kartik Amarnath, Mid-Atlantic Regulatory Director of Vote Solar, said: “A grid that is renewable and affordable is one that can handle the economic and environmental health challenges Southeast Pennsylvania is already facing. The people – especially PECO’s default service customers – have spoken: no more kicking the can down the road. Clean and affordable energy is a matter of life and death, and we can no longer speak solely in the language of dollars, cents, and archaic utility business models.”

Bill Cozzens, volunteer with POWER Interfaith said “I am a PECO default service customer. That shouldn’t keep me from being part of the great shift to affordable, renewable energy that is taking place in this country. Pennsylvanians are missing out on all the opportunity of this national energy transition just because we are served by PECO. There is so much more that PECO can do.”

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POWER Interfaith is a network of more than 200 congregations throughout Pennsylvania, a statewide organizing force for economic and racial justice on a livable planet. More about POWER Interfaith at www.powerinterfaith.org.