Big monopoly utility companies like Florida Power & Light (FPL) will stop at nothing to confuse and manipulate you, especially when it comes to taking your hard earned dollars each and every month.
FPL, along with the state’s other big power companies, have poured more than $21 million into a deceptive campaign in an attempt to pass an amendment to the Florida Constitution in November which would set the stage to block the development of customer-owned solar power. At this rate, the effort is on track to be the most expensive ballot initiative campaign in Florida history.
Ask yourself, why would the utilities spend big bucks to pass an amendment to protect consumers? They wouldn’t. Why would big power companies spend tens of millions to open the solar market to more homes and businesses? They wouldn’t. Utilities do not want customers to own solar because then you wouldn’t buy as much power from them. It’s that simple.
Of course, they’ve branded their deceptive campaign with an appealing name and catchy slogans and say the measure – Amendment 1 – will promote solar, but their initiative does nothing more than to protect their monopoly which keeps you a captive customer.
It’s this sort of misleading campaigning that led Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente to call Amendment 1 a “wolf in sheep’s clothing.” She wrote in a sharp dissenting opinion: “Let the pro-solar energy consumers beware. Masquerading as a pro-solar energy initiative, this amendment, supported by some of Florida’s major investor-owned electric utility companies, actually seeks to constitutionalize the status quo. The ballot title is misleading by its focus on ‘Solar Energy Choice,’ when no real choice exists for those who favor expansion of solar energy.“
With all this utility money, brace yourself for lots of TV and online ads between now and Election Day. Don’t be fooled! Spread the word to your family, friends and neighbors that Amendment 1 is funded by the utilities and based on lies. Utilities use the money they make off captive customers like you to keep you locked in. The fact is, technology is changing rapidly and the cost of solar power is plummeting.
The bottom line is that if you didn’t buy as much power from FPL, then they wouldn’t get to build as many new power plants. Then they couldn’t keep asking for rate increases. FPL just wrapped up rate hearings where they have requested a 23% rate increase with as much as 12 ½% return on new power plants.
What’s more, as a state, we are already dangerously over-reliant on natural gas – 70% in FPL territory and if they build all the new natural gas plants planned, it will be closer to 90%. That’s risky but what do the power companies care? They get to charge people for many decades to come.
The Tampa Bay Times editorialized, “The amendment mentions consumer “rights” and solar “choice,” but it doesn’t expand either . . . Rather than expanding choice for consumers, the measure does the opposite. Giving the electric monopolies the additional constitutional protection for their outdated business models would put Florida even further behind in the use of renewable energies.”
It’s hard to be further behind when the state has less than 1/10th of 1% of our energy needs met with customer owned rooftop solar. In a state with 9 million electricity customers, less than 12,000 have solar systems.
It’s time for the Sunshine State to see the light. Florida should reject the manipulation of big power companies. Send them a message loud and clear, “Vote No on 1” in November. Amendment 1 Blocks the Sun.
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