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Florida Electric Utilities hijack environmental language to confuse people to vote against solar

At first glance, a new amendment proposed to Florida’s constitution by its electric utilities might seem like they are having a change of heart when it comes to supporting solar.

After all, the amendment title “Rights of Electricity Consumers Regarding their Solar Choice”  reads as though it’s an attempt to empower consumers with more autonomy and fiscal freedom when it comes to choosing where their get their electricity.

But if you were to make such an assumption, you’d be wrong.

The electric utilities seemingly beneficial amendment is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, hijacking popular environmental catchphrases to confuse Florida constituents into supporting a law they might actually be against.

The amendment, which is backed by a $22 million publicity budget, starts out innocently enough, summing up an existing law that allows “consumers to own or lease solar equipment installed on their property.”

It then adds an additional twist to the statement by going on to clarify that customers who do not install solar “are not required to subsidize the cost of backup power and electric grid access to those who do.”

Solar supporters, contractors and opponents of the amendment claim the added language is an attempt to overturn an existing 2008 law requiring energy companies to pay for excess energy customers generate from their solar panels, also known as net-metering benefits.

According to a recent article by the Miami Herald,  the Florida Public Service Commision ruled in 2008 that every Florida electric utility is required to provide customers with renewable energy systems the chance to sell their excess energy through a net metering program.

By getting rid of net-metering benefits in Florida by passing a law that pretends to be in favor of supporting solar, the utility companies are trying to confuse voting constituents by making rooftop solar take longer to pay off and more expensive to install.  

The electric utilities have rallied for the voting support of lower income households to pass the bill, claiming the burden of subsidizing a solar homeowners net-metering costs will fall on their shoulders. Opponents of the utility companies however point to an economic analysis by the Brookings Institution, which shows that when people add solar it actually reduces the costs of electricity for everyone since no new power plants need to be built and companies don’t need to buy expensive power during peak energy times.

For Florida homeowners thinking about installing solar, the future is unsure, making the best time to get grandfathered into the state’s net-metering incentives now.

Contact or call (888) 338-0183 to learn about switching over to solar before the state’s net-meteirng policies change.

Author: Harold Tan

I believe clean, renewable energy is key to the evolution of society as a whole. Solar powers our planet, why not harness it to power humanity? Let's power our homes, our work, and our vehicles with solar energy. It begins with raising awareness and encouraging those around us to go green.

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