Florida may be known as the Sunshine State, but utilities aren’t making it easy for the state’s residents to take advantage of the sun to power their homes. That’s because utilities are supporting the controversial Amendment 1, which would make it almost impossible for homeowners to go solar cost effectively.
“For months the solar industry has been beating the drum about the dishonesty of Amendment 1 and its devastating impact on jobs, economic growth, and the rights of Floridians to choose their own clean energy sources,” said Tom Kimbis, interim president of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “Floridians are waking up to the fact they are being deceived and it is absolutely critical—no matter what the poll numbers—that they go to the polls or mail in ballots to say NO to Amendment 1.”
The state’s utilities have spent another $3.5 million of customer’s money on advertising for the Amendment. They previously had spent $21 million to promote and finance the campaign and the Tampa Bay Times reported yesterday that utilities have spent $42.7 million on political campaigns this election cycle to fight against rooftop solar power. That figure, the newspaper says, includes supporting legislators that would prolong a fight against rooftop solar.
However, SEIA said that since a video of Sal Nuzzo, a vice president at the James Madison Institute in Tallahassee, FL, surfaced, the amendment has lost more than 20 percent of the support of voters. In the video Nuzzo, whose institute has worked with Florida’s utilities in the past, called the proposed 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.”
It appears that video may be helping to chance people’s minds. In a Civis Analytics poll conducted between Sept. 29 and Oct. 9 fully 73 percent of Florida voters said they planned to vote for Amendment 1 and 13 percent planned to vote against it. In a follow-up poll conducted between Oct. 20 and Oct. 25 by the same company, only 51 percent planned to approve the amendment and 38 percent planned to vote against it. That’s importance because the amendment needs the support of 60 percent of the electorate to go into effect.
Another recent poll conducted by Bay News 9/News 13 showed that the amendment may not pass. It found that 40 percent of respondents planned to vote for the amendment while 33 percent planned to vote against it.
"There is no greater subsidy that a government can grant than that of a regulated monopoly and with that comes a great responsibility to act ethically and in the best interest of the public,” said Justin Hoysradt, CEO of Vinyasun. “These polls show that more and more Floridians are now aware of this great deception, a caper, perpetrated by a monopoly that can no longer be trusted and that is fueling our customers’ opposition to Amendment 1."
SEIA observed that many prominent figures have spoken out against the amendment, including Jimmy Buffett, most major newspapers in the state, former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, former Vice President Al Gore—who spoke against the amendment during a campaign event with Hillary Clinton, and more.Tweet