This election season is one of the most raucous to date and it’s not just led by the ugly clashes of the Presidential nominees. In Florida, the battle for rooftop solar power and the ability to go solar is up for fierce debate as voters will decide whether or not to approve Amendment 1, a misleading piece of solar legislation promoted by utilities in the state that would negate other solar legislation.
“We now have clear evidence that utilities are using an issue with strong voter support – solar – to mislead Florida voters in order to continue protecting their profits,” said Pamela Goodman of the League of Women Voters Florida. “Amendment 1 is a con job and a scam that is very dangerous for the voters and consumers of Florida.”
The amendment has gained national attention. Notably, during a campaign stop in Miami recently, both Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Former Vice President Al Gore, spoke out against the legislation.
The most recent controversy is over comments made by Sal Nuzzo, a vice president at the James Madison Institute in Tallahassee, FL. The institute has previously worked with the state’s utilities on policy. Recently his comments on Amendment 1 at the State Energy/Environment Leadership Summit in Nashville, TN, were leaked to the Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau. The newspaper reports that Nuzzo called the amendment “an incredibly savvy maneuver” that “would completely negate anything they (pro-solar interests) would try to do either legislatively or constitutionally down the road.” He contended that such legislation takes a popular subject, solar, and using it benefit the utilities by protecting people who choose not to install solar from helping incentivize those who do.
The solar advocacy group, Floridians for Solar Choice, said the leaked audio shows the corruption and scam behind the amendment. “This tape shows the extraordinary lengths of deception, the utter disrespect for the Florida voters and the arrogance of the big monopoly utilities embedded in the fraudulent Amendment 1 on the ballot in November,” said Stephen Smith of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. “They know what Florida citizens and voters want, more clean solar power, yet the power companies use what they arrogantly call ‘political jiu-jitsu’ to put the shady, con Amendment 1on the ballot targeted at Sunshine State voters. This is not a political left or right issue, this is a fundamental issue of what is right and wrong.”
“These revelations, while not surprising, have now confirmed to the citizens of Florida that Amendment 1 was and is a predesigned attempt to destroy all free market energy in the state along with solar energy in general. We as a coalition stand firm against Amendment 1,” contended Tory Perfetti of Floridians for Solar Choice.
“This is a clear example of big utilities using monopoly power and money to interfere with small business owners in the state of Florida who are trying respond to customers’ desires for more rooftop solar power,” said Patrick Altier of the Florida Solar Energy Industries Association. Utilities in the state have promoted the Amendment with $21 million already. “If Amendment 1 is allowed to pass, it will be the biggest fraud on Florida citizens since the utilities lined their pockets with billions for advanced nuclear recovery,” Altier added.Tweet