Promoting clean energy, consumer protection

Everyday Stewardship |

Electric utilities encouraged to include changing trends into long-term planning

Praxis Mutual Funds®, managed by Everence Capital Management, has be-gun conversations with electric utilities to promote clean energy and consumer protection. These discussions are a result of work by Ceres, a nonprofit advocating for sustainability among businesses, and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, an investors group for faith and values-driven organizations. The aim is to influence the electric utility industry to increase its use of low-carbon electricity generation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect the industry’s long-term value.

These conversations coincide with fundamental shifts within the electric utility industry:
•The cost of renewable energy has dropped dramatically, particularly for solar and wind.
•Power is increasingly being generated by consumers, such as those with solar panels on roofs of houses and businesses.
•The anticipated rise in national and international regulation of green-house gas, making investments in carbon-heavy and polluting sources more difficult to justify.
•Slowing global electricity demand–a trend that is expected to continue.

Many utilities feel threatened by the changes, in part because they have invested significant capital in power plants that are expected to operate for more than 30 years. Some utilities are fighting the changes by requesting large, fixed-fee increases that discourage energy efficiency and take choice away from consumers, while disproportionately increasing costs to the poorest customers.