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Trick or Treat on Amendment 1?

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Tricks to the Voters-Treats to the Power Companies

Written By: Emerson Brantley

 

Don’t be tricked this election! Deceptive Amendment 1 is a bold play to FOOL the voters and kill solar energy in Florida.

 

When a Supreme Court Justice calls a proposed ballot amendment “misleading” and a “wolf in sheeps’ clothing” it pays to listen.  Justice Barbara Pariente didn’t mince words about Deceptive Amendment 1, adding “The ballot title is affirmatively misleading by its focus on “Solar Energy Choice” when it will actually give more power to the big electric utilities.

 

And you might be suspicious when every solar company, environmental organization, a host of conservative groups and even the U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce opposes this false “solar” amendment … while all four big monopoly utilities, Florida Power and Light (FPL), Duke Energy, Tampa Electric and Gulf Power and their political committee “Consumers for Smart Solar” bankroll over $21 million to heavily promote it and push it through.  And you would be right.

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It’s on track to be the most expensive ballot initiative in Florida’s history. The big power companies know if enough Floridians are fooled by their clever wording, they can maintain their monopoly control over electricity, crush or cripple consumer-owned solar, and lock in their profits for years to come.

 

Deceptive Amendment 1 on the November ballot paves the way for discriminatory fees and penalties on solar customers designed to make solar more expensive, limit its use, and hurt Florida consumers by denying them a cost effective way to lower power bills.

 

Florida’s called the Sunshine State, right?  Shouldn’t we be removing barriers to solar power – not creating new ones? Unfortunately, deceptive Amendment 1 does the exact opposite, and promises us “rights” we already have.

 

Justice Barbara Pariente described it as “Masquerading as a pro-solar energy initiative, this proposed constitutional amendment, supported by some of Florida’s major investor-owned electric utility companies, actually seeks to constitutionalize the status quo.

 

The Supreme Court Justice concluded that if Floridians pass this deceptive amendment, “no real choice exists for those who favor expansion of solar energy.”

 

Only by voting NO on deceptive Amendment 1 can we keep solar available for all Florida citizens.

 

Solar power keeps energy dollars in our community that Floridians spend buying environment-damaging coal, oil and natural gas.  Keeping these dollars local improves our economy and creates more jobs.

 

Solar also saves water.  It takes zero water to produce solar energy, compared to millions of gallons wasted every day in power plants.

 

The cost of solar has plummeted and continues to drop even further, which helps save consumers money.  The power monopolies know solar power is poised to grow in the Sunshine State, allowing consumers to generate more of their own power enjoy lower electric bills. But that cuts into corporate profits, so the power companies will stop at nothing to get their deceptive amendment passed.

 

The U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce represents thousands of forward-thinking business owners, entrepreneurs and corporate leaders who know that business success and environmental sustainability go hand in hand. Florida has abundant sunshine to empower businesses and consumers to potentially save hundreds of millions of dollars.

 

Deceptive Amendment 1 pretends to give consumers “the right to own or lease solar equipment installed on their property to generate electricity for their own use.” These rights already exist in state law.

 

It goes on to say “consumers who do not choose to install solar are not required to subsidize the costs of backup power and electric grid access to those who do.” The language is carefully chosen to allow the power companies and Public Service Commission to impose special fees only on solar customers.  It’s already happening in other states…the only way to keep this from happening in Florida is to vote “NO” on this deceptive Amendment 1.

 

Solar power has so many benefits for businesses and homeowners. To protect our right to access solar power Vote NO on Amendment 1 in November.

 


Emerson Brantley is a board member of the U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce and a resident of Jacksonville Florida

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