Monopoly Power Companies Drafting Solar Bills... What?
Categories: News, Energy
In the wake of landslide consumer votes in favor of solar last election, power companies continue to slither their way into legislation attempting to thwart the competition that rooftop solar brings to the State. Florida Power And Light, or FPL drafted the bill that puts tough requirements on rooftop solar companies. How could that happen? According to the Miami Herald, here's how:
"Florida’s largest utility was so intent on influencing the implementation of a constitutional amendment expanding solar installation in Florida, it drafted legislation designed to create new requirements for homeowners and businesses that install rooftop solar and sent it to the legislator who was authoring the language.
The proposal, HB 1351 by Rep. Ray Rodrigues, which was passed Wednesday by the House Ways and Means Committee, contains sections that include verbatim language supplied by Florida Power & Light.
The bill is intended to implement Amendment 4, the proposal approved by 73 percent of the voters on the August primary ballot, which prohibits tax assessors from increasing the taxable value of a home or business because of a solar installation. But, unlike a similar bill in the Senate, Rodrigues is using the bill to implement the amendment to also impose disclosure and paperwork requirements for companies that finance and install solar energy products on homes and businesses."
On Jan. 18, Rep. Rodrigues accepted a $15,000 contribution to his political committee from Florida Power & Light, and $2,000 from Tampa Electric. Five days later, on Jan. 23, he sent an email asking a lawyer in the House bill drafting office to analyze FPL’s proposal and compare it to the Arizona bill he was considering using as a model for his “consumer protection language."
Since when do the power companies who were ousted by the public for attempting to make changes get to write the bill that makes the changes? And where is the FTC in all of this? The Federal Trade Commission was created to protect competition in business, and to break up companies where monopolies exist. If they don't derail the power industry in the wake of Solar advancement, they might as well shut down tomorrow with over 1100 employees of wasteful spending. The power industry has more monopolies currently present in the U.S. than any period in history. There is a misnomer that says the stability of our electrical grid justifies the monopoly status of the industry, and that a disruption could be detrimental to all. Have you ever been cut off in 5 degree weather? The customer service without competition is dismal in most of them. If it's too difficult and complex to allow two companies to compete in the same market, the simple fix is to give special concessions to Solar until there is true competition in every market.
FPL has moved into acres of solar as I put it, where solar panels are built to occupy huge fields of energy generation. That's one part of the clean energy movement, but that's not really what this is supposed to be about. There is a race going on right now between the low cost of solar available currently nationwide and the energy companies who want to keep power lines in our lives. The future holds low cost battery systems that will make power companies completely obsolete in the wave that is soon to come.
Most cities and municipalities in Florida have continued to sign 25 or 30 year contracts with electric companies when the momentum of technology says that power lines could be rendered completely unnecessary in 5 to 10 years. Solar energy is considered disruptive, because it will eliminate the need for wired connections altogether, and the infrastructure that was status quo yesterday may not be tomorrow. The Federal government continues to incentive taxes for the progress and growth of renewable energy, yet the pocketbooks of local, county, and States continue to be splurged with dishonest backroom funded changes that surplant the will of the public. Such behavior should be considered a violation of public office, a conflict of interest, unlawful, and grounds for termination of any public official. It's bribery at best.... villainous to say the least.
DESPITE THE CLEAR MESSAGE FROM VOTERS LAST YEAR THAT THEY WANT MORE SOLAR, FPL JUST WON’T QUIT. THEY’RE STILL TRYING TO THROW UP BARRIERS TO FLORIDIANS GOING SOLAR IN ANY WAY THEY CAN, AND THEY’RE HAPPY TO BUY THE SUPPORT OF LEGISLATORS LIKE REP. RODRIGUES WHO WILL CARRY THEIR WATER FOR THEM. ~David Pomerantz, executive director of the Energy and Policy Institute