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"Progressive" Organizations Launch Campaign Against Florida Electric Choice Ballot Initiative

March 5, 2019

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Copyright 2010-19
Reporting by Paul Ring •

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A group named Floridians for Affordable Reliable Energy (FARE) recently launched an effort opposing the proposed electric choice ballot initiative in Florida, as FARE said that it would, "set the record straight on the dangers of deregulation."

FARE describes itself as, "a coalition of progressive organizations and grassroots donors who share a commitment to protect Floridians from large corporations who want to deregulate the Florida energy market so they can make larger profits while sticking consumers with higher electricity rates, and unfairly target vulnerable communities like our seniors."

Former State Rep. Joe Gibbons stated, "The latest efforts by some in Florida to deregulate our energy market is yet another attempt to bait and switch voters with a misleading initiative. When it comes to Florida’s energy market, ‘choice’ is being used by the big players as an opportunity to fool voters, so the existing structure is abandoned. Today’s regulated market ensures that any rate increases are approved by an accountable commission that oversees the market."

J.B. Clark with IBEW stated, "Deregulation simply does not work and only serves to enrich the mega-corporations while working families get stuck with higher bills. In fact, states that have implemented deregulation in the last decade are now struggling with its adverse impacts. I am eager to work with FARE and its coalition partners to share with Floridians why deregulation is a dangerous gamble, and one where Floridians will be on the losing end."

Former State Rep. Robert Asencio shared, "Deregulation allows third party providers to come between ratepayers and the power company and charge whatever they want. It also allows them to engage in market schemes that unfairly target our most vulnerable citizens, particularly our seniors, leading to spikes in costs. Today, Florida consumers pay some of the lowest rates in the country. We cannot allow Florida’s stable energy market to be disrupted by special interests who are only looking out for their bottom line, and not the public interest."

FARE said that, "In every year since 1997, the average residential customer in regulated states has paid a lower rate for electricity than their counterparts in deregulated states."

FARE said that, "In Texas, as of 2014, areas exempt from deregulation, on average, paid lower residential electric rates compared to deregulated areas of the state."

FARE said that, "In New York, residential and some small commercial customers overpaid by $817 million between January 2014 and June 2016, and low-income customers overpaid by almost $96,000,000 during the same period, compared to the prices charged by regulated public utility companies."

FARE said that, "As of September 2018, residential customers in deregulated electricity states pay 38% more for power than Florida residential customers."

FARE Board Members include:

• Scott Arceneaux, the former Executive Director of the Florida Democratic and who most recently served as the senior advisor for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in Florida and chief strategist for Andrew Gillum’s 2018 gubernatorial campaign.

• Joe Gibbons, a former state representative for Hallandale Beach where he served as the Democratic Leader pro tempore from 2010-2012, and past chair of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators committee on energy, transportation and environment.

• Gil Ziffer, a former Tallahassee city commissioner where he served for nearly a decade and a past president of the Florida League of Cities

• Robin Lockett, President of the Hillsborough County Democratic Black Caucus and former Regional Director with Fair Districts and Next Gen Climate

• Robert Asencio, a former state legislator and police captain

• J.B. Clark, legislative affairs Director for the Florida Electrical Workers Assn.(IBEW) and Executive Board member of the Florida AFL-CIO

• Jackie Lee, campaign manager for the 2010 successful Florida Fair Districts campaign, and most recently managed and advised the passage of the Florida Restorations of Rights Campaign, also known as Amendment 4.

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