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Wal-Mart Doesn't Want To Pay Conservation Charge


Wal-Mart doesn't think it should have to pay energy conservation charges like everyone else. The retail giant says it can conserve more power on its own its own.

Wal-Mart attorney Scheff Wright told regulators Wednesday that Wal-Mart could save a great deal more energy than traditional programs offered by the utilities.

“They are far better able to implement and identify programs and measures at their facilities than their utilities, and trying to shoehorn in what they might want to do and the utility programs.”

Electric utilities are required by law to charge customers to pay for programs that provide such things as home inspections, attic insulation and partial rebates for household improvements.

Florida Power and Light spokesman Dave McDermitt says the company’s 22 programs conserved enough energy in the past 30 years to avoid building 14 medium-sized power plants.

“They seem to imply that only large businesses implement energy efficient measures on their own when in fact many of our customers also use their hard-earned money to practice conservation.”

Duke Energy spokeswoman Suzanne Grant says the company’s conservation programs saved 1.2 billion dollars in reduced energy costs since the 1980s. Grant says Duke’s biggest concern is who will pick up the slack.

“If the commission implements a policy that allows a large customer to opt out, we want to make sure other customers, the remaining customers aren’t harmed in terms of having increased charges.”

Wal-Mart claims its energy savings could count toward the utility companies overall conservation goals. Its proposal would limit the exemption to only the largest power users.

But an FPL executive testified Wal-Mart would have an unfair advantage because it could combine its stores to qualify for the program.