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Utilities Pump More Money into Amendment 1

November 1st, 2016 by flanews

$22 million dollars wasn’t enough. So now some of the largest utility companies in the state have pumped another $3.5 million dollars into the Amendment 1 campaign.

Backers of the controversial amendment have pitched it as pro-solar and consumer friendly – claims environmentalists say are false. Aliki Moncrief with the Florida Conservation Voters says that the influx of money from the utility companies means they’re scared.

“They need this money to continue their misinformation campaign because they’re losing voters,” she said.

The proposal needs 60% of the vote to pass, which is why ads could be key in the final week. And recent polling indicates that support for the amendment might be coming down.

Former Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham pushed back on the claims during a conference call Tuesday.

“The installation of solar saves customers money because it avoids having to build additional generating capacity,” he said.

Consumers for Smart Solar – the group pushing the amendment – says it’s all about fairness and that’s why utilities are so involved.

“If you’re the utility companies, they’re the most heavily regulated industry in the state of Florida. Shouldn’t every other energy source also be regulated to protect consumers? We think so,” said Screven Watson, the group’s spokesman.

The cash flow and low polling came after audio leaked in October suggesting the amendment was posing as pro-solar, but is actually squashing pro-solar competition. Opponents of Amendment 1 are planning a statewide rally Thursday in cities from Miami up to Tallahassee.

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