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Just 12 Consumers have given to Consumers for Smart Solar

October 19th, 2016 by Mike Vasilinda

 

Florida’s investor owned utilities have pumped more than 15 million into Amendment one on November’s ballot. They say it protects consumers who have solar and those who don’t, but many believe it will only promote solar developed by the very companies companies pushing the amendment.

The ads are slick. “Just think one for the sun” chimes the announcer in one.

They can afford to be. Consumers for Smart Solar has amassed nearly 22 million in donations. Most of it from big utility companies. Campaign finance reports show the average contribution was 168 thousand dollars. Organizer Matt Carter is a former utility regulator and says the goal is to protect consumers.

“Protection from fraud. Protection from Sub standard equipment. Protections from scams and ripoffs” says Carter

So we asked Carter how many consumers had actually contributed.

“I don’t have that information, Mike, but its readily available.”

The answer is 12, contributing a total of 405 dollars out out 22 million raised.

A divided Supreme Court allowed the amendment on the ballot because it was nothing technically wrong with it, but in a dissent, one judge called it a wolf in sheep clothing.

The James Madison Institute is listed on the Smart Solar web site as an endorser.  Sal Nuzzo is JMI’s policy director. And in a  speech he gave in Nashville, he seems to validate the judges concerns.

“So we essentially negated what the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and all these other folks were after” say Nuzzo, referring to a competing amendment that would have allowed consumers to sell their excess energy.

Colleen Castille is the former Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection. She opposes Amendment One.

“I would tell people to vote no because it limits their ability to have solar on their home or on their business” says Castille.

60 percent of Florida’s voters have to approve amendment one for it to become part of the constitution.

If the amendment is approved, consumers would be prohibited from ever selling excess energy generated by their panels, Solar could also face steep regulation, most like by the Public Service Commission, the same commission regulating utilities.

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