As Utilities Run Scared, the “Right to Rooftop Solar” Movement Picks up Steam in Latino Communities
August 27, 2013
The big utilities in California like Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric, and San Diego Gas & Electric are heavily lobbying Latino leaders in the State Legislature. The utilities are trying to get Latino leaders to support efforts to obstruct California’s rooftop solar growth. California Latino voters support rooftop solar by wide margins. Latino leaders in the state legislature should listen to Latino voters instead of siding with the big utilities.
..a recent bill introduced by Fresno-area Assembly member Henry T. Perea, AB 327, which would penalize ratepayers who have net-metered rooftop solar, reflecting a repeatedly-countered utility talking point that people who generate their own electricity aren’t paying their fair share of the state’s grid operation cost. Perea’s bill would allow utilities to charge a monthly $10 fee for access to the grid, though that could be reduced to $5 a month for households making under 200 percent the state poverty line.
Presente.org points out that families asked to provide an additional $120 a year to the electric company might find that a disincentive to going solar. The group has teamed up with the Sierra Club’s My Generation campaign and the economic democracy group The Other 98%to oppose bills like Perea’s, and the coalition created an online petition along those lines.
Southern California Edison (SCE) “hates rooftop solar.” That’s the premise of a fake, satirical commercial (see below) made by Presente.org, a Latino activist organization.
Presente.org teamed up with the Sierra Club and The Other 98% for its “Save Rooftop Solar” campaign, which seeks to fight big utilities’ antagonism towards rooftop solar.
The organization argues that California utilities such as SCE, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) “are heavily lobbying Latino leaders” to get them to “support efforts to obstruct California’s rooftop solar growth” even though “California Latino voters support rooftop solar by wide margins,” according to Arturo Carmona, Executive Director of Presente.org.
The big utilities like Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric, and San Diego Gas & Electric have traditionally relied on the big profits they make from bloated dirty energy projects. Dirty energy projects – like natural gas plants – are often built in poor communities, polluting our air and guzzling up water resources at a time of record droughts.
That’s why the big utilities feel threatened by the growth of California’s rooftop solar revolution. More clean energy means more local jobs for our communities but fewer profits for the utilities’ traditional dirty energy business model.
Two-thirds of new solar installations are now taking place in middle class and low income communities. This means that more and more families are now able to benefit from the economic benefits that solar energy brings. In addition, rooftop solar projects are expected to save California schools and public buildings $2.5 billion over the next thirty years, helping to free up much needed funding for teachers and student programs.
This is not the time to obstruct the growth of rooftop solar. Our state’s entire clean energy economy depends on moving forward, not backwards on solar.
Tell Latino Legislators – Save Rooftop Solar
Big utilities are heavily lobbying Latino leaders in the California state legislature. They are trying to add huge fixed charges to energy bills for families in Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric territories. These fixed charges would amount to $10 a month, or $120 annually, and could not be avoided by conserving energy or using rooftop solar energy. This would hurt local solar job growth and put energy savings out of reach for families in the most vulnerable communities, particularly in Latino neighborhoods, that can benefit from clean energy solutions the most.
Send a message to the Latino caucus in the California State Legislature to protect rooftop solar growth from the big utilities’ power grab!
Apparently not content to be merely clueless about solar energy, but internet communication as well, Southern California Edison has sent a “cease and desist” letter to the video’s creators.