‘Energy choice’ amendment unpopular with Florida voters

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Only two in five voters back the proposed amendment.

Voters are lukewarm on the electricity deregulation amendment aiming to get on the 2020 ballot.

According to a new poll conducted by AmericanPublic.us, only two in five voters say they’re in favor of the plan to bring “energy choice” to the Sunshine State. About the same number are unsure about the proposed constitutional amendment while 22 percent say they’re voting no.

“It’s clear that support for this amendment is very soft and can be easily eroded when voters hear just a few basic facts about what it would do,” said Mark Allen, President of AmericanPublic.us, who conducted the poll.

The amendment would wrest control of the power grid away from investor-owned utilities, relegating them to line repair and other maintenence.

Backers say the plan would save ratepayers money — as much as $5 billion a year.

But the deregulation savings haven’t materialized in states that have put similar measures on the books. in Texas, for instance, energy costs ballooned to $9,000 a megawatt hour, or $9 a kilowatt hour, during a recent heat wave.

After the first reading, AmericanPublic.us primed voters with some information on possible cost increases, saying “according to the independent Federal Energy Information Administration, in other states that passed laws similar to this proposed amendment, the average residential electric rate is 37% higher than Florida’s.”

When voters heard about the potential price spike the Citizens for Energy Choice-backed amendment could bring, what little support the measure had eroded — just 21 percent said they were “definitely” or “probably” voting yes, while a supermajority said they’d downvote the measure.

“It’s clear that the initiative’s fiscal impact statement, which warns about significant cost increases and the loss of revenue for state and local governments, makes voters think twice about this misleading proposal to dismantle Florida’s existing electricity system,” Floridians for Affordable Reliable Energy Board Member Scott Arceneaux said.

The organization added, “This proposal is seriously flawed, misleading and confusing and should be struck from the ballot by the Florida Supreme Court who is hearing the matter tomorrow (Wednesday, August 28th). But even if it is approved by the high court to appear on the ballot, it is an unpopular concept that Florida voters do not support.”

AmericanPublic.us polled 1,344 registered voters who said they planned to cast a ballot next year. It was conducted Aug. 14 through Aug. 21 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.68 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.


  • Hoitt

    August 27, 2019 at 6:37 pm

    Biased much? “wrest control” “regulate them” and then misleading your readers by comparing it in a misleading way to ‘deregulation’ in other states. Pathetic.

    • Edward Helldane

      August 28, 2019 at 6:01 am

      I agree. I don’t know the issue already and was hoping this article would explain it, but it doesn’t. Instead it seems to be writen to ‘suggest’ the reader should vote no, but without clarifying why. We should vote no cause some other people are going to? Because the author thinks we should? I’m an informed voter, the ‘why’ is the only thing that’s gonna motivate me to vote either way. What is a yes vote supposed to do exactly?

  • SoFineSoFla

    August 27, 2019 at 10:00 pm

    Giving more control of our power grid to bureaucrats from Tallahassee would indeed result in much poorer service, higher consumer costs, and inability to react quickly for natural disasters. More government control almost always accompanies a reduction in quality of service.

    • Edward Helldane

      August 28, 2019 at 5:54 am

      SoFineSoFla: Proof where? Just cause u say so?


    August 29, 2019 at 5:26 pm

    I’ve never heard one customer ever ask for more choice about utility companies. They might want better, faster service when there is an outage. Or lower rates. I wonder if the PSC, toothless as it is these days, has any correspondence from anyone in the public demanding choice. The only choice that I think would serve the public would be to expand municipal utilities throughout Florida. This current effort is driven by investors who would make money with no evidence that the service they would offer would be better service in any way whatsoever. Whoever is pushing this is wrapping themselves up in the word choice to hide what they are really up to. Which is not in the public interest, I am sure!

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