Spread the Word, Vote Against Amendment 1

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Jim Turner has an article in the Gainesville Sun on Sat. Oct. 8, 2016 which does not have good news on Amendment 1.  The polls show the amendment as being viewed favorably by most voters, event though poll Director Frank Orlando says the public does not understand the amendment.  This is the result of millions being spent by Florida Power & Light and other utility companies.

Portions of the article are reproduced here.  For the entire, original article, please go to this link.

Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life:  once taken, it cannot be brought back-


SOLAR POWER

Voters to flip switch on November ballot amendment

By Jim Turner

The News Service of Florida

TALLAHASSEE — Backers tout Amendment 1 on the November ballot as a consumer protection measure, but critics and editorial boards malign the effort as an attempt to hinder the development of alternative fuels.

The proposal— backed by Consumers for Smart Solar, with massive financial support from the state’s energy giants — would enshrine in the Florida Constitution existing rules regarding the use of solar energy by private property owners.

The proposal also includes a more contention provision, which states that those who haven’t installed solar on their property “are not required to subsidize the costs of backup power and electric grid access to those who do.”

Eric Silagy, president and CEO of Juno Beach-based Florida Power & Light, strongly defended the proposal as the most “plainly written amendment I’ve seen in a long time.”

Instead, he said the proposal guarantees consumer protections that now could be usurped by local and state government rule changes.

Silagy said his company, the state’s largest energy provider, joined the effort because of its support for solar in Florida. FPL has put up nearly $5.5 million for the Smart Solar effort.

“Here’s want we have done. We’ve installed and operate more solar than anybody else in Florida as a company.” Silagy said. “And I’ve got three solar plants that are under construction right now that are being built for less money than any plant in the history of the country. We’re going to have one million solar panels operating by the end of the year. People should just read the amendment and make up their own minds.”

It’s the non-subsidization language, however, that has proponents of solar power up in arms.

Stephen Smith, executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, said the “carefully focused group” ballot language could result in “discriminatory charges” against rooftop solar users.

“We have seen in their filings before the Florida Public Service Commission that what they intend to do is, if you are a customer and put solar on your house, and you’re able to exchange that with the grid during the day and pull that power back at night, they don’t like that. They want to penalize that, because when you’re not buying power from them they’re not making as much money,” Smith said.

The Consumers for Smart Solar amendment was introduced last year after the group “Floridians for Solar Choice” launched a petition drive for a ballot initiative that sought to increase the use of solar power. The Floridians for Solar Choice initiative would ease regulations and allow businesses to generate and sell up to two megawatts of solar power to customers on the same or neighboring properties.

A driving force behind Floridians for Solar Choice — which failed to obtain the requisite signatures to appear on the 2016 ballot— was Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, whose financial backers are shielded from public record.

Critics contend Amendment 1 is aimed at maintaining each giant utility’s hold on their part of the energy market in Florida.

Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente, in a dissenting opinion on the ballot language, wrote that the proposal is “masquerading as a pro-solar energy initiative.”

Silagy dismissed such assertions.

“I know it’s a popular story line to say this is just the utilities that are trying to protect a monopoly, but we don’t have a monopoly on roof top solar, groundmounted solar or anything else,” Silagy said.

More than three-quarters of the $21 million raised by Consumers for Smart Solar thus far has come from the state’s four largest utilities— FPL, Duke Energy, Tampa Electric Co. and Gulf Power. Duke Energy contributed $5.7 million, Tampa Electric Co. provided $3 million, and Gulf Power gave $2.1 million, in addition to FPL’s $5.5 million.

With ballots already in the mail, recent polls by the Polling Institute at Saint Leo University and the Florida Chamber of Commerce found that Floridians appear ready to approve the proposed amendment.

The Saint Leo survey found support for the proposal has grown from 77.3 percent in June to 84 percent in September, well above the 60 percent needed for passage.

Meanwhile, a poll conducted last month by the Florida Chamber of Commerce, which supports the proposal, put support for Amendment 1 at 66 percent, with 16 percent opposed.

 

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35 Comments

  1. We live a a totally off-grid home in FL because FPL wanted over ONE MILLION DOLLARS to run power to our property. I do not think anyone should HAVE to tie into the grid if they choose not to. And in FL right now if you are in a power company’s “area” you are required to tie in and feed power to THEM! Power companies just want to keep the money rolling in THEIR direction!

  2. I’m going to have to read this later because we have friends and family that have used solar panels for years now and were going to add them to our home and we hear only good stuff. Your comments all have me wondering whats going on now…lol

    1. Here’s what’s going on: right now you can use solar energy without having to pay penalties to the electric company. The electric companies don’t like this. This amendment would discourage solar energy use.

  3. Builders should provide solar power systems when you buy your home and by using batteries with your system will take you off the grid and will eliminate electric company monopolies from renting you electric your whole life without ever having ownership.

  4. Those using or are intending to go solar need to understand that FPL is maintaining all of the power lines, transformers, meters, line repair maintenance, etc. Someone has to pay for that. Solar users need to understand that there is no free lunch when putting their energy back to the grid.

    1. Spending 10k on a solar system is not getting a “free ride” and FPL gets to charge someone else for the power my solar system puts back into the grid. On top of that solar growth will slow the growth of power generation requirements saving FPL millions in new power generation capacity increases.

  5. Nothing wrong with solar. The utilities are backing a deceptively worded amendment that benefits THEM, and not people that have solar in their homes and/or businesses.

    And why, can anyone tell me, should this even be considered as an amendment to the State Constitution? We have some of the most inappropriate constitutional amendments in Florida. Is it possibly because the Republican(!) controlled legislature can’t do its job? Are they afraid of having these issues overturned on appeal if they only pass a law? Bowing to big business lobbyists? (probably).

  6. Sounds like, once again, it comes down to money and greed. We are totally solar for the last 5 years as our choice over paying our sky rocketing electric bills. Vote NO!!

  7. Vote No!!! Against they are trying to fool and pull the wool down over our eyes with rebuttal the facts right in our face and deny what it really is…if we get solar to break away from our power company we have to pay a penalty for having the freedom to choose…so what happen to capitalism..? And competition?… This is worst than communism… Not socialism… Where at least the whole is lookin for the well bearing of all…

  8. If the Sunshine State doesn’t fully utilize solar in every way it can, free of opposition,
    it’s a sadly missed opportunity.

    1. I don’t think this is about solar being good or bad. What I gather is this amendment would allow your power company to penalize you for using your own solar power instead of purchasing power from them. I could be interpreting it incorrectly though.

    2. See my links above. No one is arguing solar is bad. It’s the deceptive wording and intent of Amendment 1 that is bad. Amendment 4 is the one that should be voted YES on.

    3. Joyce Rosemary voting yes would be bad for people who want clean solar energy. Those people would be penalized and the money would go to big power companies. Vote no.

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