Deceptive Amendment 1: A bold play to allow discriminatory fees against Floridians


Written by: Emerson Brantley

Amendment 1:  Penalizes consumers who save energy

When a Supreme Court Justice calls a proposed ballot amendment “misleading” and a “wolf in sheep’s 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.”

Amendment 1 is really a “New Hidden Tax Plan To Penalize Energy Savers and Profit Power Companies.”

No wonder Florida Power and Light (FPL), Duke Energy, Tampa Electric and Gulf Power and their political committee “Consumers for Smart Solar” have “invested” — bankrolled — over $21 million to make sure it passes.

It’s on track to be the most expensive ballot initiative in Florida’s history. The big power companies are convinced that if enough Floridians get fooled by the tricky wording of Deceptive Amendment 1, they can continue to monopolize control over your access to electricity.

Even worse, Deceptive Amendment 1 allows electric companies to penalize consumers for saving energy… effectively taking away your rights to use Florida’s most abundant resource, the sun.

That’s why almost every solar company, environmental organization and even the U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce oppose this fake so-called “solar” amendment and urge you to Vote No On Amendment 1 in November.

To put deceptive Amendment 1 into perspective, imagine if you bought a water-efficient toilet and the next month got a whopping new monthly penalty fee on your water bill. It’s like getting taxed extra because didn’t use enough water. You wouldn’t take that sitting down would you? It would effectively close the lid on anyone trying to save water. In the same way Amendment 1 is designed to cripple or crush solar energy in Florida through discriminatory fees and penalties to discourage its use, potentially costing Florida consumers millions of dollars.

Here in the Sunshine State we should be removing barriers to solar power – not creating new ones. Shouldn’t we be looking for ways to reduce energy consumption and electric bills, not increase them?

Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente described Amendment 1 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.”

She 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.

Why we must vote NO and reject this deceptive Amendment 1

All the power companies are for it (to the tune of over $21 million to push it through)

• Power companies get the green light to penalize solar users resulting in more fees and surcharges, and taking away your rights

Dozens of solar industry and environmental groups are against it, including the U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce of Commerce

Solar power keeps energy dollars in Florida instead of buying environment-damaging coal, oil and natural gas from other states… boosting our economy and creating more jobs.

Solar saves water, compared to power plants wasting millions of gallons every day.

• Nationwide solar costs are plummeting, making it more affordable for more middle class consumers than ever before. Only in states where power companies have been allowed to legally penalize consumers have they managed to keep solar use down and maintain their profits.

• Deceptive Amendment 1 only 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 for all consumers in Florida without needing to 1-voteno-on-1-emerson-articlechange the state constitution.

It skillfully says “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 not-so hidden intent is to allow power companies to impose special fees targeting solar customers.

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.

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.

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

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