Recordings have been leaked and no it is not about the presidential campaign. Rather audio recordings have been made public where utilities are shown to deceive Florida voters with political doublespeak.
Amendment One, an unseemly misnomer entitled “Rights of Electricity Consumers Regarding Solar Energy Choice,” was no more than “political jiu-jitsu,” explained Sal Nuzzo, vice president for policy at the James Madison Institute, a Tallahassee-based right-wing think tank funded by the likes of the Koch brothers, Exxon, and utilities like Gulf Power, Florida Power & Light and Duke Energy.
Nuzzo was recorded on Oct. 2 explaining to a gathering of utility execs in Nashville how they could employ low-down deception to thwart competition from solar power. The audio tape,first reported by the Miami Herald’s Mary Ellen Klas, captured Nuzzo suggesting that utilities apply “a little bit of political jiu-jitsu” by pushing legislation and constitutional referendums that “use the language of promoting solar.” The strategy, of course, is to mislead voters into thinking they’re approving a initiative that promotes solar power when the actual effect would be quite different.
Listen for yourself.
Opposition to Amendment 1 is growing.
Floridians for Solar Choice, a coalition of environment groups, libertarians and solar industry entrepreneurs, had wanted consumers to have the right to lease solar panels from independent contractors with limited upfront costs. And to allow shopping centers to install rooftop solar panels and sell the electricity to tenants in the complex.
Nuzzo warned the utility executives that about 70 percent of the public, if left to their own devices, would cast votes favoring measures that removed the legal obstacles to solar power. And it wasn’t just a bunch of environmentalists pushing this stuff, he warned. The Tea Party backed solar power. Along with local business groups.
Even getting this trojan horse amendment on the ballot was a battle with strong dissent from Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente.
“Masquerading as a pro-solar energy initiative, this proposed constitutional amendment, supported by some of Florida’s major investor-owned electric utility companies, actually seeks to constitutionalize the status quo,” Pariente wrote.
The cleverly worded measure, sounding so very pro-solar, guaranteed consumers “the right to own or lease solar equipment installed on their property to generate electricity for their own use.” Except, that’s a right Floridians already enjoy.
Sadly the ballot measure that would benefit solar and customer choice failed to make the ballot.
Ironically, the petition drive for a real pro-solar amendment, the initiative backed by Floridians for Solar Choice, failed to receive enough signatures from registered voters to make the November ballot. But the utilities’ stalking horse measure funded by the utilities will be there.
Climatic Solar encourages you to Vote No on Amendment 1. More information here.