Lack of education regarding alternative energy may put consumers at risk

Lack of education regarding alternative energy may put consumers at risk

November 3, 2011 0 By Stephen Vagus

When it comes to alternative energy, education is a subject that gets little attention.

Typically, consumers are only mildly aware of their energy consumption apart from when they get their monthly bill. This presents a dichotomy in how consumers see alternative energy. Without a way to accurately gauge the benefits of sustainable fuels, consumers are unlikely to support solar, hydrogen and wind power with any enthusiasm. In the past, the federal and state governments have been leery of accepting responsibility to educate the populace about alternative energy use, but that mindset may be changing as more states begin to adopt sustainability.

The first step in determining what consumers should know about alternative energy is how they consume energy, according to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). To meet this end, the CPUC is seeking approval to collect consumption data throughout the state and draft a number of recommendations regarding regulations and educational initiatives based on that data.

The plan has caused some concern amongst consumer advocacy groups, however, as the CPUC would assume control of valuable data that could shape the future of alternative energy.

Given that consumers have little knowledge concerning the intricacies of alternative energy, they may be left in the dark when it comes time for new laws and regulations to be passed concerning energy use. With little to no effort coming from governing entities to solve this issue, consumers may be at risk of falling prey to laws that do not accommodate their needs. The CPUC’s proposal has not yet been authorized by the California Legislature, but given the eagerness with which lawmakers have adopt alternative energy initiatives in the past, it may gain approval in the coming months.

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