In the Gainesville Sun on Oct.16, two articles about Amendment 1 are found. One, by Dick Batchelor completely misconstrues the issue, hides the truth, and encourages the reader to vote for the Amendment. The other, by Wes Wheeler and reproduced here in part, tells the truth that it is written to benefit the fossil fuel utility companies, and that we should vote against it.
It truth, the ballot is written so poorly that people are voting for it already, believing they are voting for solar, when in reality they are doing the opposite. If Amendment 1 passes, solar will be put back many years in Florida.
Tell your friends, VOTE AGAINST AMENDMENT 1, IT IS WRITTEN BY THE FOSSIL FUEL UTILITY COMPANIES. IT WILL BENEFIT THEM AND NOT THE CONSUMER.
Continue reading for excerpts from this article, or see the original in its entirety at this link.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-
Wes Wheeler: Amendment 1 would protect utilities’ monopoly
Posted Oct 12, 2016 at 2:00 AM Updated Oct 13, 2016 at 8:46 PM
By Wes Wheeler Special to The Sun
Amendment 1 is a Florida public utilities ploy to prevent third-party solar power sales, and ultimately, the home solar power generation market in Florida. Despite its catchy, misleading name, it would limit solar power production in Florida. Indeed, it would be much more honest to describe it for what it is: “Amendment 1: The Florida Public Utilities Protection Act.”
Florida Statutes, Chapter 366, states that only “public utilities” may supply gas or electricity in Florida, subject to the jurisdiction and rules of the Florida Public Service Commission. This law and those regulations exclude any other person or entity (“third party”) from selling generated power to anyone but a public utility. For renewable energy sources, this sale to public utilities is governed under F.S. 366.91, which includes net metering.
Floridians for Solar Choice, a broad public interest coalition, initiated a 2015 citizens’ ballot drive to allow Florida third-party (non-utility) solar power providers to sell generated power. Practically speaking, this means a private company could install solar power at no charge to the consumer and finance that installation by selling the generated power to that consumer.
Buying power, rather than leasing equipment, benefits the consumer because the installer bears the risks and costs of low power production months. The installer would benefit in high-production months. This “win-win” would encourage further solar production. But with no hand in the pie for them, it is less profitable for the utilities.
That 2015 ballot initiative, and similar legislation to permit competition in the solar power market, has been blocked by public utility lobbying and marketing. Despite these temporary setbacks, the solar choice initiatives carry on, with the ballot proposal coming back in 2018. The public utilities recognize this and in a preemptive strike, have taken and turned the very words of solar power advocates against them in the proposed Amendment 1.
To be clear, Amendment 1, on its face, neither adds nor removes any existing legal rights or remedies already available to Florida citizens. It simply restates the existing law that: “Electricity consumers have the right to own or lease solar equipment installed on their property to generate electricity for their own use.” Floridians already have that basic right (to own or lease property).
I encourage all Floridians act locally to do our part by voting against public utility monopoly; vote “No on One” in November.
— Wes Wheeler is an attorney in Gainesville.