Statement – Bogus report issued by James Madison Institute

It is unfortunate and also predictable that fossil fuel funded, monopoly utility front groups James Madison Institute (JMI) and Heartland’s James Taylor created a bogus report on the Floridians for Solar Choice Ballot Amendment. How is it that the James Madison Institute – which professes to support economic freedom, limited government and personal liberty – opposes competition and props up monopoly utilities? True conservatives value free market and competition.


Their argument against solar is similar to hospitals seeking to ban people from joining fitness clubs because they will be healthier and make less visits to the hospital. There are many studies showing how solar benefits everyone. The JMI report completely ignores the many benefits of solar and provides an inaccurate representation of its impact.


JMI and Heartland are promoting government created utility monopolies in an effort to deprive Floridians of the freedom to enter into contracts to purchase solar power from third parties. They want to keep Floridians captive and shackled to monopolies. They are trying to deny Floridians the right to engage in commerce with excess power produced on their private property.


The Solar Choice amendment has no subsidies, carve-outs, fees or taxes. It will simply allow solar companies to enter into agreements to sell solar power to homes and businesses. Solar prices have dropped 61% in the last six years and the Floridians for Solar Choice initiative will harness those price reductions and protect consumers from rising energy prices. Solar Choice will create high-paying local jobs in local communities and keep energy dollars here at home instead of sending tens of billions dollars each year out of state for fuel. 


The Solar Choice amendment is all about competition. By unleashing free-market principles, consumers will win big. Competition will drive down the cost of energy. It’s a shame that groups like these develop position based on financial contributions – not free market principles. Heartland also produced bogus reports to defend big tobacco and claimed smoking posed no health risks. 


JMI also has very close ties to former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Florida Power and Light recently donated one million dollars to Bush’s Super PAC. It should come as no surprise that JMI is continues to side with monopoly utilities.


We must remove the current market barriers and allow solar to compete in the free market. This will encourage innovation. Can you imagine where we would be today if Ma Bell still had a monopoly in regard to telecommunications? Once the judge ordered the Bell system to be broken up, innovation took place and we now have the mini computer cell phones we have today. The cost of phone service is cheaper now than it was in the 1980s.


Yet Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy and the other monopolies force captive customers to pay for their bad investments. Just recently and despite $6 billion in losses and calls by consumer advocates groups to end the practice of hedging on natural gas, Florida regulators just voted to continue allowing the practice. Utility customers are forced to subsidize these and other bad decisions.


The utility business model rewards building expensive power plants. The more money the monopoly spends, the more money they make. Solar will eat into their profits. As long as this model and the current market barriers remain in place, the monopolies would rather keep building expensive power plants and spreading misinformation instead of doing what is in the best interest of their consumers. 


True conservatives champion the removal of government erected barriers that prohibit free market competition for solar. We do not side with monopolies to prevent free market competition and we shine a light on misinformation and inaccurate reports.

December 16, 2015

Contact: 678-761-6725

Debbie Dooley, President Conservatives for Energy Freedom

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