Tallahassee, Fla.– Today, FARE Board Member & Former Rep. Joe Gibbons provided key testimony before the Financial Impact Estimating Conference workshop concerning the proposed constitutional amendment on deregulating Florida’s energy marketplace:
“I have joined with a number of community and labor leaders to form Floridians for Affordable Reliable Energy or FARE. We are working to educate Floridians about the dangers of electricity deregulation like that being proposed by the amendment that is currently being examined by the Fiscal Impact Estimating Conference and was sent to the Supreme Court for review last Friday.
“Experiences in other states have shown clearly that electricity deregulation has negative impacts on consumers, resulting in higher electricity rates, lower reliability and increased fraud.
“This is a bait and switch attempt by some corporations to get voters to abandon the current regulated system, which has delivered low rates, improvements in reliability and growth of renewable energy for Floridians.
“In the past few months, Attorneys General and consumer advocates have called for an end to deregulated residential electricity in Illinois, Massachusetts and Connecticut because of the damage it has caused in their states, particularly in vulnerable low income, minority and senior communities.
“Just this past November, voters in Nevada overwhelmingly opposed an attempt to deregulate their electricity market by ballot initiative, with 67% voting against it. Dozens of organizations opposed it including AARP, Sierra Club, labor unions, chambers of commerce, veterans groups, the farm bureau and cattlemen’s association. It was found that deregulating electricity there would cost the state and ratepayers more than $150 million dollars just to implement, result in $4 billion in stranded costs for the utilities, increase electric bills, kill jobs and decrease growth in renewable energies like solar.
“It’s safe to assume electricity deregulation would be even worse for Florida, with 21 million people versus Nevada’s 3 million, and the largest percentage of seniors in the nation who are especially vulnerable to increased costs of living and fraud.
“In listening to the studies presented to the FIEC, it is apparent that a significant loss of local and state revenue will result if this initiative were to move forward and pass. Realizing this loss will result in either higher taxes or reduced services to economically challenged communities, our state simply cannot allow this initiative to move forward.
“Delivering reliable, affordable electricity to 21 million people is no easy feat. The short-term and long-term costs of this proposed amendment will be far too great for our state to bare.”