FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 8, 2015

For all media inquiries, including interview opportunities with researchers tracking utility industry attacks on solar, please contact: Gabe Elsner, Executive Director, Energy and Policy Institute, (571) 969-2189, elsnerg@energyandpolicy.org 

Energy & Policy Institute Investigation Unveils Strategy Documents Behind Utilities Campaign Against Solar

 

Board Documents Reveal Trade Association Concerned about Profits Despite Claiming the Opposite While On-the-Record with Washington Post 

Three years ago, Edison Electric Institute, the utility industry’s trade association, gathered top executives to discuss the threat posed by solar energy to the industry’s profit margins and launched an action plan to weaken their solar competitors. The industry, along with utility and fossil fuel-backed front groups, are now waging a coordinated campaign to weaken pro-solar policies across the country by targeting state legislatures, regulatory agencies, and advocacy groups.

The Washington Post published a front page story Sunday, stating:

The utility industry’s playbook for slowing the growth of residential solar is laid out in a few frames of the computer slide show presented at an Edison-sponsored retreat in September 2012, in a lakeside resort hotel in Colorado Springs, Colo…

Two-and-a-half years later, evidence of the “action plan” envisioned by Edison officials can be seen in states across the country. Legislation to make net metering illegal or more costly has been introduced in nearly two dozen state houses since 2013. Some of the proposals were virtual copies of model legislation drafted two years ago by the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, a nonprofit organization with financial ties to billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch.


EEI-David-Owens-How-Do-You-Grow-EarningsDavid Owens, Executive Vice President at Edison Electric Institute claimed in an interview with The Washington Post that, “It’s not about profits; it’s about protecting customers.” Despite Mr. Owens claims, the board materials uncovered by the Energy and Policy Institute show the exact opposite — the utilities care about maximizing their profits, not protecting ratepayers. In his slide show delivered in Colorado, Owens states, with regards to distributed energy generation, “How do you grow earnings in this environment?”

Additional slides and documents detail EEI’s plan to target public policy and regulators in an effort to weaken the solar industry.

Washington-Post-Solar-Net-Metering

Image Courtesy of Washington Post.

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About E&PI: The Energy and Policy Institute is a pro-clean energy think tank working to expose attacks on clean technology and counter misinformation by fossil fuel and utility interests. Over the past 2 years, Energy and Policy Institute has been tracking EEI and the utility industry campaign against distributed solar energy. 

Posted by Gabe Elsner

Gabe Elsner is the founder and executive director of the Energy & Policy Institute. He is a thought leader on defending policies from attacks by incumbent energy interests and his work has been featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, Bloomberg, The Daily Mail, The Australian, The Guardian, Los Angeles Times, MSNBC, and National Public Radio. The Energy & Policy Institute’s work has protected dozens of public policies that support the growth of the clean-tech industry.

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