News-Press

October 14, 2016

Solar amendment misleads voters, protects utilities

Rich Housh

http://www.news-press.com/story/opinion/2016/10/14/solar-amendment-misleads-voters-protects-utilities/92005680/

 

The solar amendment that will appear on the November ballot is meant to confuse voters. I encourage you to join me and many others who will be voting No on Amendment 1 for the same three reasons outlined by Floridians for Solar Choice. They are:

·         Amendment 1 protects utility companies, not citizens. Big power companies are using Amendment 1 to maintain their monopoly control on profits from electricity sales and limit customer-owned solar. Solar power is poised to grow in the Sunshine State, which would allow customers to generate their own power and buy less from the electric utilities. To date, the monopoly utilities have poured in almost $22 million to promote this Amendment to protect their power sales all the while claiming they are “pro-solar.” In reality, utilities only support limited amounts of solar power they own and from which they can profit.

·         The amendment paves the way for barriers that would penalize solar customers. The large monopoly utilities are looking for ways to limit customer-owned solar and will use this false claim as a justification to implement unfair fees and discriminatory penalties for solar customers. Restrictions and unfair fees would make solar more expensive, limit the expansion of solar and hurt consumers by denying a cost effective way to lower power bills.

·         The amendment misleads Florida voters by promising rights and protections that Florida citizens already have. The monopoly utilities wrote Amendment 1 to sound good by promising that it would add new solar rights and consumer protections. Floridians already have the right to purchase or lease solar equipment and are already fully protected under Florida’s existing consumer protection laws. The false promises of additional rights are designed to gain support for the Amendment, not to grow the solar market in Florida.

I invite the community to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida’s free community event, Evenings at the Conservancy, to learn more about this issue. The event is from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the conservancy's Conservation Hall, located at 1495 Smith Preserve Way in Naples.

I will be joined by two colleagues, Susan Glickman, Florida director of the Southern Alliance of Clean Energy Action Fund, and Neville Williams, former CEO of Standard Solar Inc., and author of SUN POWER (Forge/Macmillan, NY, 2015) to speak on this issue and answer questions.

Seating is limited. Please

RSVP to Sophia Navarra SophiaN@conservancy.org or call 239-403-4207. More information about this free community event is online at www.conservancy.org/evenings.

Rich Housh is CEO of Plug Smart.