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Energy choice amendment draws more petitions, money

One big donor is funding most of this push.

A potential constitutional amendment that would move energy purchases to a retail market continued to build momentum in April.

The “Right to Competitive Energy Market for Customers of Investor-Owned Utilities” push to create an “open and competitive energy market” is now up over 236,000 signatures, still a fraction of the 766,200 needed by Feb. 1, 2020, for ballot access.

The latest figures mark an increase from a few weeks ago, when 201,609 were in.

The sponsoring organization, Citizens for Energy Choice, has raised $2.275 million thus far, with $236,005 brought in with April contributions.

Coalition for Energy Choice is the sole funder of the effort, with Infinite Energy offering staff help.

Infinite Energy is a multistate operator with a Gainesville branch. The company also operates in Texas, Georgia, New York and New Jersey.

The group spent $252,009, primarily on petition collection with an in-state company, though a catered event at the Houston Hyatt Regency suggests interest in this effort extends beyond the state line.

If the amendment is approved by 60 percent or more of voters, it will allow customers of investor-owned utilities to shop for the best price for utilities. Current IOUs would be restricted to construction or maintenance of infrastructure.

The amendment would also subvert monopolies, and would lead to legislation that would offer consumer protections against “deceptive and unfair practices” and utility monopolies.

There is some serious opposition to the proposal. Business groups, the Urban League, the League of Cities and Attorney General Ashley Moody have already come out against the proposed ballot item.

A similar proposal was ultimately rejected by the Constitutional Revision Commission, which wrapped its work in 2018 ahead of the November election.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades, with bylines in national and local publications alike on subjects ranging from pop music to national and global politics. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014, and has held a column in Jacksonville, Florida's Folio Weekly for two decades. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." Gancarski is a frequent presence on Jacksonville television and radio, including fill-in slots on WJCT-FM's award-winning talk show "First Coast Connect." He can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

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