TAMPA, Fla — Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried, who is also running for governor, joined Tampa-area community leaders Tuesday to announce Florida’s first-ever statewide energy equity study.
Studies have shown that low-income, Black, and Hispanic families face an energy burden three times higher than other consumers, driven by increased utility costs due to energy inefficient appliances, insulation, and weatherization.
In response, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Office of Energy says it is working to improve energy equity across the state.
“To help those who need it the most, we need to understand the systemic inequalities, the barriers and disparities and all the factors that keep vulnerable communities trapped in a cycle of energy efficiency and higher energy costs,” Fried said.
“Everyone has power bills – but too many struggle to pay them, choosing between rent, food, medicine, and utilities," Fried said. "I’m hopeful this study will help us develop equitable energy solutions for vulnerable Floridians looking for relief from high energy costs.”
The office has issued requests for proposals for researchers, which are due by 5 p.m. on July 21.
Fried's office says the study will review systemic inequalities, access to resources, barriers and how projects can be designed to address disparities by utilizing energy-efficient technologies and renewable energy options for low and moderate-income housing.
The hope is that talented researchers will come forward to help solve the complex energy struggle, Fried said.
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