Amendment 1 is backed by big utility companies like Florida Power & Light as well as Duke Energy. These companies are throwing their support behind this amendment because they are the ones who stand to gain the most should it pass. Big companies like this already monopolize the industry, profiting from the sale of electricity. Without strong competition from the solar industry, there is no incentive for the big utility companies to keep prices and fees affordable, which does nothing more than benefit those companies’ shareholders. Amendment 1 is presented as a pro-solar initiative, meant to protect consumers from out-of-state solar leasing companies and keep non-solar residents from having to pay to subsidize solar technology that they don’t use. But the truth is that the initiative is as far from pro-solar as it can be, and the true goal of its supporters is to keep control of energy production firmly in the hands of the big utility companies.
If we assume that this amendment is meant to target third-party leasing, then it is a bit more understandable. Out-of-state solar companies are exempt to some consumer protection laws, which means they can engage in practices that are harmful to Florida’s consumer base. While that is all fine and good, it is irrelevant. Third-party leasing has already been banned in the state of Florida. The real issue with Amendment 1 is that it could prohibit practices that benefit both solar and non-solar households, practices like net metering.
The real danger of Amendment 1 is that it could potentially end all net metering in the state of Florida. In most states (including Florida), there are policies in place that require electric utility companies to purchase the excess energy generated by solar homes. By and large, this policy is hated in the electric utilities industry because they are effectively losing paying customers. Not only that, they also have to pay those customers.
That is more than enough reason for big power companies to oppose incentives to switch to solar, but that isn’t where the story ends. To further their agenda, these companies argue that solar homes still use the infrastructure of the grid without paying their fair share. Non-solar homes, they say, end up picking up the slack, effectively making net metering an unfair subsidy. If net metering is considered a subsidy, then Amendment 1 will provide lawmakers with the ability to prohibit it.
So is net metering an unfair subsidy? Find out more in our next post: The Truth About Amendment 1 and Net Metering.