Florida’s monopoly utilities remain silent amidst controversy generated by leaked audio that confirms Amendment 1 represents a deliberate attempt to use “political jiu-jitsu” to deceive the Sunshine State and stifle rooftop solar.

Consumers for Smart Solar, the utility-backed group behind Amendment 1, has since doubled down on deception by deleting Tweets and Facebook posts in an attempt to cover up its ties to the James Madison Institute, whose policy director, James Nuzzo, is heard on the leaked audio. The audio was obtained by the Center for Media & Democracy and Energy and Policy Institute, and first reported on by the Miami Herald.

Deceptive Amendment 1 strategy defies utilities’ codes of conduct

Florida Power & Light, Gulf Power, Duke Energy, and Tampa Electric have now contributed around $17 million of the more than $22 million raised by Consumers for Smart Solar, which has only raised about $10 from actual consumers.  

The largest contributor to date is Florida Power & Light, which kicked in another $560,000 to fund Consumers for Smart Solar just one week before the leaked audio first made headline.

Before the news of leaked audio scandal broke, Eric Silagy, the CEO of Florida Power & Light, defended Amendment 1 as the most “plainly written amendment I’ve seen in a long time.”

“It’s pretty clear,” Silagy said at the time. “I don’t think there is anything sinister or nefarious…”

NextEra Energy, the parent company of FPL, maintains in its Code of Business Conduct & Ethics that, “We always communicate truthfully with the public.”

Florida Power & Light's direct contributions to Consumers for Smart Solar

Florida Power & Light tops Florida utilities for direct contributions to Consumers for Smart Solar as of October 14, 2016

Gulf Power is also a major contributor to Consumers for Smart Solar. Stan Connally, the CEO of Gulf Power, sits on the James Madison Institute’s board of directors. Gulf Power is a subsidiary of Southern Company, which espouses a “Southern Style” ethic of “Honesty, respect, fairness, and integrity drive our behavior.”

Duke Energy, the top contributor to Consumers for Smart Solar, has also made a commitment to “Communicate honestly and truthfully with the public.”

Tampa Electric, which is also backing Consumers for Smart Solar, elsewhere claims that, “We are committed to being truthful with and respectful towards… customers and constituents.”

Florida deserves answers

As Florida voters and editorial boards speak out against the deceptive Amendment 1, the utilities that have financed Consumers for Smart Solar have gone into hiding. Everyone in Florida should be asking why utilities who claim to communicate truthfully have bankrolled this anti-rooftop solar scam.

Posted by Dave Anderson

Dave Anderson is the policy and communications manager for the Energy and Policy Institute.

Dave has been working at the nexus of clean energy and public policy since 2008. Prior to joining the Energy and Policy Institute, he was an outreach coordinator for the climate and energy program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. He is also an alumnus of the Sierra Club and the Alliance for Climate Protection (now the Climate Reality Project).

Dave’s research has helped to spur public scrutiny of political attacks on clean energy and climate science by powerful special interests, such as ExxonMobil and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). His work has been cited by major media outlets, such as CBS News and the Wall Street Journal, and he has served as a speaker on panels at national solar industry conferences.

Dave holds a MA in Political Science from the University of New Hampshire, where he also received a BA in Humanities.

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