- Georgia Tea Party leader Debbie Dooley and Conservatives for Energy Freedom head Tory Perfetti sent a letter to Florida conservative groups backing Consumers for Smart Solar (CSS), a Florida utilities-supported solar effort, demanding they help repeal the utilities’ "early cost recovery" privilege. Dooley and Perfetti back the competing Floridians for Solar Choice (FSC) drive to expand access to rooftop solar.
- Early cost recovery allows utilities to avoid financing costs by billing customers in advance for power plant construction. Duke Energy used it to take in billions of dollars for a proposed nuclear facility subsequently postponed indefinitely.
- FSC backs an initiative for Florida’s 2016 ballot that would expand access to solar by legalizing no-down-payment, long term contracts with third party funders. The competing CSS initiative would merely codify Floridians' limited existing access to solar.
The fight over rooftop solar in Florida is currently mired in legalese, with two very similar yet dueling initiatives seeking a spot on the ballot when Floridians vote next in 2016.
Dooley’s Aug. 13 letter addressed conservatives backing the CSS initiative, including Jim Kallinger of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, Apryl Fogel of 60 Plus, Harry Alford of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, and Julio Fuentes of the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Newly released data shows CSS has raised $463,045, with contributions of $30,000 from Florida Power & Light, $30,000 from Duke Energy, $30,000 from Gulf Power, $25,000 from Tampa Electric Co., $50,000 from 60 Plus, $50,000 from the National Black Chamber of Commerce, $50,000 from the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and $90,000 from the Faith and Freedom Coalition.
“Duke Energy customers are being required to subsidize Duke Energy’s bad decisions and it has hit families and those on fixed incomes, like the poor and elderly, the hardest,” Dooley wrote. “Early Cost Recovery is a gold mine for the very powerful and rich monopolies but unfortunately it is the utility customers that often get the shaft.”