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Tuesday, 12 July 2016 07:00

Beware the electric utility's new lexicon

Written by  News reports compiled by Team SCPA

Posted July 12, 2016
Alternative energy, solar… and the electric utility companies, cont'd.

Lexicon: vocabulary of a person, language, or branch of knowledge.

The first link below is a fascinating article showing how the electric utilities are using carefully selected language to discourage the adoption of rooftop solar and maintain the status quo. George Orwell would be proud. It also explains the name 'Floridians for Smart Solar.' Beware the electric utility's 'new' lexicon!
-- SCPA editors


ELECTRICITY: Utilities rebuild an aging lexicon to keep pace with change
E&E Publishing, by Rod Kuckro, E&E reporter, July 6, 2016

… a new way of speaking was on full display last month in Chicago where EEI held its annual meeting. There, industry leaders tossed around terms such as "universal solar," the lexicon's updated term to use in the place of "utility-scale solar," which is used to describe the large photovoltaic power plants that utilities have been building at a record pace as the price of solar technology keeps falling.

Then there's "rooftop solar," common parlance for the solar panels that homeowners are installing to make their own electricity and take less utility-generated power off the grid.

The Lexicon Project would prefer that people call rooftop solar "private solar," which serves as a subtle nod to utility arguments made in states where solar is expanding rapidly and where net metering and rate policies are being hotly debated. Electric utilities say the rising number of "private" owners of rooftop solar panels is eroding the revenue base needed to maintain their regional power grids. Solar advocates say homeowners should be compensated for extra solar power they generate and return to the grid. ...


Are Big Power Companies Pulling a Fast One on Florida Voters?
Utilities are backing a ballot measure they claim is pro-solar. Environmentalists say it's anything but.
Mother Jones, by Tim McDonnell, March 7, 2016

… In Florida, the Supreme Court is commonly asked by the attorney general to review ballot initiatives to ensure that what voters will read on the ballot accurately characterizes the legal effects of the measure. And in this case, it does not, according to a legal brief filed by the environmental group Earthjustice:
If passed by the voters, the utility-sponsored amendment would be a constitutional endorsement of the idea that rooftop solar users should pay higher utility bills than other customers. Solar users could end up paying twice as much as other customers pay to buy power from the utilities. This utility-sponsored amendment pretends to be pro-solar but is actually a disguised attempt to derail rooftop solar in Florida.

"This is really shrewd, cynical deception," said David Guest, the Earthjustice attorney who will argue the group's position to the court on Monday. ...


Be skeptical of 'Smart Solar' amendment
Sun Sentinel, by Editorial Board, April 26, 2016

Consumers for Smart Solar has won the right to put the group's proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot.

Further, a spokesman says the group — which is supported by major utilities including Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy Florida, Gulf Power and Tampa Electric — "looks forward to making our case to the people of Florida that we must advance solar energy — and do it in the right way — a way that protects all consumers, whether they choose solar or not."

OK. We'll listen to their arguments in the coming months. But the Florida Supreme Court opinion barely approving the ballot language — as well as the history of how this proposed amendment came into being — leave us for the time being in the Highly Skeptical category.

We are skeptical that the high court should have approved the amendment's ballot language. And we are skeptical that the substance of the amendment — if it should become state policy at all — belongs in the state Constitution rather than in statute. …

… The key legal requirement is that the ballot language must not be misleading. The three dissenting justices make a plausible case that the language is indeed misleading. …

Compiled by Team SCPA

Last modified on Tuesday, 12 July 2016 07:11
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