Nuggets of Wisdom

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Vote No On Florida Amendment One


On the Florida ballot is an amendment that will allegedly protect the right of Floridians to own and use solar panels. It sounds good enough. After all, we are the Sunshine State, so why call ourselves that if we can't power our homes with sunshine?

However, like every other government proposal with “good intentions”, this amendment contains dirty details on how it will pave a road to hell for anyone who isn’t a utility company.

Vox breaks down why this amendment is actually bad news for solar power:
First, it would inscribe in the state constitution the right to own or lease solar panels for personal use. Which is ... fine? Except customers already have that right, by Florida law. They also have the right to own a toaster or lease a car, no toaster- or car-specific constitutional amendments needed. This provision exists solely to give voters the impression that they’re supporting rooftop solar.

Second, though it doesn’t say so in the ballot language, it would preserve the total monopoly that investor-owned utilities currently have on rooftop solar in the state, locking out private competitors. (As we shall see later, an alternative initiative would have done away with the utility monopoly, but it didn’t make the ballot.)

Third and most deviously, it would create "constitutional protection for any state or local law ensuring that residents who do not produce solar energy can abstain from subsidizing its production." What this means in English is that utilities will have a constitutional basis to challenge any policy that they think unfairly favors solar power.
The article goes into more detail on how this amendment would help utility companies maintain their monopoly on the electric sector while stamping out their competition.

But if there’s any indicator this anti-free market amendment is bad news, you only need to see who supports and opposes it—and big surprise, the solar industry opposes it while big power companies like Duke Energy support it.

Also, this is one of the few amendments that’s opposed by Florida Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, and Green Party. When you have four opposing political parties agreeing with each other than something is BS, chances are it probably is!