Nikki Fried seeks answers for energy cost inequities
Nikki Fried. Image: A.G. Gancarski

Fried Jax
The poorer you are, the more power might cost you.

In Jacksonville Tuesday, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried spotlighted energy equity, ahead of a deadline for proposals on ways to resolve “systemic inequities” in energy distribution.

The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Office of Energy’s “energy equity study” hopes to resolve a central problem for lower-income families: the reality that utility costs can eat up three times as much of the household budget as more affluent families. Older appliances and energy inefficient structures contribute to the problem in many areas.

“Everybody has energy bills. But too many are having to choose between paying their electric bills, paying their rent, paying for food to put on the table,” the Commissioner lamented.

This issue is especially acute in minority communities, studies show.

“Five percent of Floridians spend 50% of income on housing costs like energy. But energy efficiency upgrades can reduce energy burdens by over 25%,” Fried said.

Fried’s department seeks proposals to mitigate the disparity by July 21.

The Commissioner said “people shouldn’t have to make a decision between paying their electric bills, pay their mortgage and rent, or to put food on their plates.”

“This is something that we need to work on together, make sure that we are bringing diverse voices to the table, make sure we are putting the people first, and fixing the system that’s been working against the people of our state,” Fried added.

When asked previously how the study would provide concrete solutions, Fried said they could facilitate grants.

There is precedent. Last year, the Office of Energy launched a $1 million grant program to help defray energy costs for lower-income communities, with counties filing the applications.

Fried mentioned issues like lack of insulation in homes, outdated air conditioning units, and other issues that contribute to higher energy costs.

Fried had backup from a Jacksonville state legislator.

Rep. Angie Nixon, who represents HD 14, lauded Fried for taking initiative on the study.

“I can’t tell you the amount of calls my office receives as it relates to people being unable to pay their utility bills,” Nixon, a first-term Democrat, noted.


Florida Politics’ Kelly Hayes contributed to this post.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Ed

    July 13, 2021 at 2:27 pm

    Has Commissioner Fried addressed the rising fuel prices under the current administration? Not a peep from Nikki but she says raise your hand if you support Biden. I still see no reason to raise mine.

  • zhombre

    July 13, 2021 at 2:35 pm

    It’s systemic environmental RACISM !!!

    • zhombre

      July 13, 2021 at 4:07 pm

      … or ANTHING she can demagogue to gain traction in her soon to fail race for Florida Gov. ANYTHING but her record, her history, and her finances …

  • Tom Palmer

    July 13, 2021 at 8:29 pm

    The fuel prices are controlled by the oil industry and Wall Street, not the White House.

    • zhombre

      July 13, 2021 at 9:50 pm

      On his first day in office, Biden revoked the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, intended to bring some 800,000 barrels of crude oil per day from Canada into the U.S. The next day, Biden suspended all permitting of oil and gas drilling on federal lands and waters. This half assed administration with a demented, corrupt figurehead has been instrumental in depressing energy production and that affects prices at the pump.

    • Tom

      July 14, 2021 at 7:16 am

      Biden destroyed the energy free America independence that the Trump administration accomplished. The American people suffer cause of this bone head effort. Much higher gas at the pump coming. Just started. Backlash vote will make Dems pay. Palmer you have no clue.

  • Tom

    July 13, 2021 at 9:05 pm

    Fraud does not address anything.
    She just engages in liberal scream.
    Blame DeSantis for everything she says.
    A joke.

  • Arthro

    July 14, 2021 at 12:25 am

    Nikki is a joke. Did she ever figure what her income was?

  • Kevin Chambers

    July 14, 2021 at 8:42 am

    Any fixed cost is going to hit poorer people harder. That’s basic math. Utilities are a fixed cost in that there is a minimum baseline every household is going to use. All the studies and task forces in the world aren’t going to change that.

  • Tom

    July 26, 2021 at 2:27 pm

    Yes add 10% inflation upon fixed costs and you have depression. Fraud has no clue.
    Palmer says she’s consumer friendly, LMAO.
    With friends like her consumers don’t need enemies. A joke

Comments are closed.


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