8 Nov 2016

Florida’s Amendment 1: Will common sense prevail over utilities’ $25+ million bid to quash solar?

Written by Jim Pierobon

As voting ends tonight in Florida on what is widely viewed to be one of, if not, the most deceptive initiatives on any ballot across the U.S., below is a final tally of the media outlets that recommended a NO vote against its solar Amendment 1, courtesy of Floridians for Solar Choice.

Go here for organizations who also urged a NO vote, along with solar companies and other businesses, notable individuals, political groups, local governments, elected officials and candidates for public office.  All totaled, there are more than 220 entities listed.

Credit: Floridians for Solar Choice

Credit: Floridians for Solar Choice

Go here for the 19 organizations that Florida’s investor-owned utilities were able to secure endorsements from in favor of Amendment 1 through their Consumers for Smart Solar PAC.

Media Outlets

  • Bradenton Herald – “Should there be truth in advertising on this, an accurate campaign title would be: Utilities for a Stronger Monopoly on Power […] The Bradenton Herald Editorial Board recommends a no vote on Amendment 1.”
  • Bradenton Herald (second editorial) – “Don’t fall for the utility fiction that the measure promotes.”
  • Creative Loafing Tampa – “The major power utilities — Duke Energy, FP&L — are behind this one, even if they do smack a big ol’ sunshine sticker on it. Do not believe their glossy ad campaign, funded more than $20 million by supporters of nonrenewable energy. What it really does? Impedes the spread of solar use that’s not tied to a big power company.”
  • Florida Courier – “Many Floridians dream of placing solar panels on their roofs, generating enough free energy to power their homes, and selling the excess power to Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy, or even their neighbor. If you vote for Amendment 1, you’re voting AGAINST the possibility of selling your excess power, not FOR it. We strongly urge you to vote AGAINST Amendment 1.”
  • Florida Times-Union – “all of this controversy is a perfect reason to to oppose the amendment. The Legislature is the place to sort out all of the arguments, not dueling Constitutional amendments.”
  • Florida Times-Union (second editorial) – “The Florida Supreme Court only approved the clarity of the amendment’s wording by a 4-3 vote. We recommend a no vote on Amendment 1.”
  • Florida Today – “It’s bad policy for Florida. And it was written to trick voters into making that bad policy permanent by adding it to Florida’s Constitution. […] It’s bad for consumers, bad for entrepreneurship, bad for clean-energy development and ultimately a detriment to the environment.”
  • Folio Weekly – “Don’t be fooled. It’s bad policy designed to line the already-overflowing pockets of Big Energy […] Vote ‘no’ on Amendment 1.”
  • Gainesville Sun – “Florida’s utilities are taking advantage of public support for solar by pushing a deceptive amendment to protect their energy monopolies.”
  • Gainesville Sun (second editorial) – “If there was any doubt that Amendment 1 is an anti-solar measure designed to appear as the opposite in order to deceive voters, a recording released this week makes it clear. Don’t be fooled — vote against Amendment 1 on the Nov. 8 ballot”
  • Jacksonville Business Journal – “However – and it’s a large however – the amendment would harm the burgeoning solar industry: giving control of solar to entrenched utilities now risks the possibility of solar never getting off the ground in the Sunshine States, and that’s not a risk that’s worth taking.”
  • The Ledger – “If voters want to support a true free market for energy consumption in this state and help consumers in the process, they should reject Amendment 1.”
  • The Ledger (second editorial) – “At its heart, this ballot measure is a well disguised attempt by private power utilities to fend off the competition from solar providers. Voters should reject this amendment if they care about expanding the solar industry and reducing energy prices through greater competition.”
  • Lehigh Acres Citizen – “No. 1, an alleged “solar energy” initiative, is greatly misleading […] My, oh my, if there ever was a descriptive misnomer, the so-called “Rights of electricity consumers regarding solar energy choice” amendment title and ballot summary wins the prize […]Do not be fooled by this ballot initiative: it is NOT pro-solar. Vote NO on Amendment No. 1.”
  • Miami Community Newspapers – “Ask yourself, why would the utilities spend big bucks to pass an amendment to protect consumers? They wouldn’t. Why would big power companies spend tens of millions to open the solar market to more homes and businesses? They wouldn’t. Utilities do not want customers to own solar because then you wouldn’t buy as much power from them. It’s that simple.”
  • Miami Community Newspapers (second editorial) – “No matter how you vote in the Presidential election or other races on the ballot, send a message to the power companies on November 8th. It’s rare that citizens can impact something this important. Let’s not squander the opportunity.
    Whether you vote by mail, early or on Election Day, tell the utilities to take a hike. Vote “No” on Amendment 1. “
  • Miami Herald – “This amendment proposed by the Consumers for Smart Solar sounds like it has consumers’ best interest in mind, but the opposite is true. This is a utility-backed amendment that seeks to shut down consumers’ free-market choices.”
  • Naples Daily News – “Amendment 1, however, isn’t the answer. Vote ‘no.’”
  • The News Press – “…this amendment seems to benefit the utilities more than the consumers. It creates even more of a monopoly, keeping entities other than large utilities from leasing solar panels to homes and businesses and selling the excess energy on the grid.”
  • Northwest Florida Daily News – “Amendment 1 grants no additional rights to everyday Floridians. If voters want to support a true free market for energy consumption in this state and help consumers in the process, they should reject Amendment 1, which merely keeps people under the thumb of big utilities.”
  • Ocala Star Banner – “Proponents of the amendment want to undermine a state law that requires them to keep customers with solar systems hooked into the electric grid, and requires them to buy back any unused solar power. That law is sensible. The amendment, which could result in onerous government regulation of solar power in the utilities’ favor, is not. We recommend voting NO, against Amendment 1.”
  • Ocala Star Banner (second editorial) – “In short, the backers of Amendment 1 set out from the beginning to hoodwink Florida voters by selling their measure as a pro-solar law when, in fact, it would actually inhibit solar expansion by penalizing solar consumers.”
  • Orlando Sentinel – “Cementing current policies into the Florida Constitution would be especially ill-advised in an area evolving as quickly as solar energy […] Vote no.”
  • Orlando Sentinel (second editorial) – “Amendment 1 would stack the deck in Florida against solar power, an area where the state already lags badly despite our abundant sunshine. That’s an unacceptable prospect. We reiterate, and reinforce, our earlier recommendation. Vote no on Amendment 1.”
  • Palm Beach Post – “Amendment 1 is a con. And you, the voter, are the intended mark. Titled, “Rights of Electricity Consumers Regarding Solar Energy,” it looks for all the world like a measure to help spread solar energy across Florida. But in reality, it’s a ploy by the large utility companies to protect their dominance of the energy market. If you want to speed the day when you can put an affordable solar panel on your roof, reject this cynical ballot measure. Vote no on Amendment 1.”
  • Palm Beach Post (second editorial) – “The opponents of this measure — and we side with them — don’t have anything like this kind of money to fight back with. All they have is the hope that you will see through the jiu-jitsu of this deceptive amendment. And vote No.”
  • Panama City News Herald – “Amendment 1 grants no additional rights to everyday Floridians. If voters want to support a true free market for energy consumption in this state and help consumers in the process, they should reject Amendment 1, which merely keeps people under the thumb of big utilities.”
  • Pensacola News Journal – “Citizens will gain nothing from it. No protections. No rights. And no more solar. For that reason, we recommend that you vote “no” on this shady sham of a constitutional amendment.”
  • Pensacola News Journal (second editorial) – “As we’ve said before, the proposed amendment promises to grant you “rights” and “protections” that you already have. It’s absurd that it ever made it on the ballot in the first place. Put the lights out on this ratepayer-funded sham. Vote “No” on 1.”
  • Sanibel-Captiva Islander – “No. 1, an alleged “solar energy” initiative, is greatly misleading […] My, oh my, if there ever was a descriptive misnomer, the so-called “Rights of electricity consumers regarding solar energy choice” amendment title and ballot summary wins the prize […]Do not be fooled by this ballot initiative: it is NOT pro-solar. Vote NO on Amendment No. 1.”
  • Sarasota Herald Tribune – “Amendment 1 barely met the threshold for placement on Florida’s general election ballot. That alone should make voters highly skeptical of the initiative. The only “choice” for Floridians to make in this statewide referendum is between voting for or opposing an unnecessary, misleading initiative. We recommend voting NO, against Amendment 1″
  • Sarasota Herald-Tribune (second editorial) – “This initiative is funded by the utility industry. The proposal is “masquerading as a pro-solar energy initiative.” The amendment, which could result in onerous government regulation of solar power in the utilities’ favor, is not. We recommend voting NO, against Amendment 1.”
  • Sun Sentinel -“Florida’s so-called Smart Solar amendment is “smart” only for the utility companies that have poured more than $20 million into this attempt to guarantee that they can keep their monopoly on consumer energy. The amendment is meant to confuse Floridians, and the state’s Supreme Court never should have let it get on the ballot. We strongly urge voters to say “No” to Amendment 1.”
  • Sun Sentinel (second editorial) -“If you haven’t followed this high-stakes scam closely, you might think Amendment 1 will make solar energy more viable in the Sunshine State. But one of the amendment’s strongest supporters was recently caught on tape bragging about the fast one being pulled on voters. We’ve said it before and we’re saying it again: Don’t be fooled. Vote “NO” on Amendment 1..”
  • Tallahassee Democrat – “Amendment 1 won’t give you any rights you don’t already have. It won’t give you any consumer protections you don’t already have. All it will do is guarantee the profits for the shareholders of the big utility companies. We recommend you vote no on Amendment 1.”
  • Tampa Bay Times – “Amendment 1 is a solar scam […] Don’t fall for this deception, which never should have been allowed on the ballot.”
  • Tampa Bay Times (second editorial) – “Few efforts to change the Florida Constitution have been as deceitful as Amendment 1, the solar power measure on the November ballot that is about everything but expanding solar energy.”
  • Tampa Bay Times (third editorial) – “…This amendment is the industry’s attempt to leverage the appeal of clean, plentiful and increasingly affordable energy to sustain a dated business model, an anti-competitive market and a political grip on lawmakers in Tallahassee that has prevented solar from reaching its potential. By rejecting Amendment 1, voters will send a message that Florida can and must do better — and that they won’t fall for misleading advertising.”

    Credit: Consumers for Smart Solar

    Credit: Consumers for Smart Solar

  • TC Palm – “Don’t be fooled by Amendment 1 […] Florida utility companies have spent millions of dollars to get Amendment 1 on the ballot and to persuade voters to approve it Nov. 8. That should tell you something. [… It’s]  not a good deal for Floridians.”
  • The West Volusia Beacon – “The Florida Constitution should be a sacred document […] free of clutter created by special interests motivated by temporal causes, or profit, or greed. Yet on Nov. 8, our state constitution risks being amended to include language that has no purpose other than protecting a monopoly in the sale of electricity. […] On Nov. 8, let’s vote to protect the sanctity of the Florida Constitution for all of us, not to alter it for profit-minded, monopoly-addicted big corporations. Vote “no” on Amendment 1.”

 

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