Published on February 9th, 2014 | by The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC)6
New Ad Reveals Duke’s Monopoly Protection Plan
Those of you who are following net metering battles across the country (and if you’re reading this, you likely are) may have heard that Duke Energy is speaking out publicly against net metering and rooftop solar. Just last week, Duke CEO Lynn Good met with local reporters and attacked net metering to defend Duke’s monopoly.
For those of you who are new to net metering, it’s a policy in place in 43 states that gives rooftop solar customers full retail credit for the excess energy they deliver back to the grid. Utilities turn around and sell this exported energy at the full retail rate to the neighbors, even though they paid nothing to generate, transmit or distribute that cleaner power. Utilities want to eliminate net metering to stifle rooftop solar and protect their monopolies.
A new ad from TUSK (Tell Utilities Solar Won’t be Killed) launched today to highlight that Duke’s opposition to net metering is a profit-protection plan. As you’ll see, Duke CEO Lynn Good affirms that she’s just “ensuring we get paid.”
Duke’s actions align with the anti-rooftop solar playbook put forth by their trade association, Edison Electric Institute (EEI). Utilities across the country adhere to this playbook, and they have even resorted to dirty tactics to preserve their antiquated monopolies.
For example, Arizona Public Service (APS) funded a multimillion-dollar anti-solar campaign last year. An entire web of dark money surfaced when reports of APS lying repeatedly about funding phony grassroots organizations and ads attacking their own customers surfaced. Unsurprisingly, the utility trade association, Edison Electric Institute (EEI), joined APS with its own TV and radio ads attacking rooftop solar customers. Despite spending millions and damaging their own brands, APS and EEI failed. Regulators upheld net metering, and Arizonans still love solar. What they did accomplish was dragging down APS’s net approval with its own customers by 13 points.
Duke has entered the fray and should also fear the overwhelming public support for rooftop solar and an alternative to the monopoly. As TASC explained last week, utilities do have a choice. They can figure out how to adapt to avoid following in APS’s failed footsteps. Duke can still make the right choice, but Lynn Good’s words and actions indicate that she lacks that vision.