Gov. DeSantis vetoes net metering bill

Govt. Ron DeSantis vetoed the state’s proposed net metering bill, which would have ended solar power benefits for residential consumers, on Wednesday. to price increases, putting his decision at the feet of the current levels of national inflation.“Given that the United States is experiencing its worst inflation in 40 years and that consumers have seen steep increases in the price of gas and groceries, as well as escalating bills, the state of Florida should not contribute to the financial crunch that our citizens are experiencing,” DeSantis wrote in his veto letter. Had HB 741 passed, critics say it could have decimated the rooftop solar industry. But backers of the bill, including Florida Power and Light said the proposal would have evened the playing field. “At FPL we are always working to deliver clean, reliable energy while keeping customer bills affordable. We remain committed to finding an equitable net metering solution for all Floridians. FPL is leading the nation’s largest solar expansion and we will continue to advance solar that is cost-effective for all our customers,” FPL said in a statement.Net metering is when people who own solar panels generate more energy than they use. Those people can then sell that excess energy back to the utility companies. The bill sponsor said the goal was to eventually do away with subsidies. FPL not only backed but helped develop the legislation. The company produced a commercial last month that explains why it supports the proposal .“Outdated Florida laws are forcing FPL customers who don’t have rooftop solar to pay extra every month for the few who do,” the commercial said.Republican representative Lawrence McClure sponsored the bill in the House.“I’m a huge believer in solar. But for the longevity of this industry in this state, this is not a business model or a way of doing it that can stand the test of time,” McClure said. you don’t have a rooftop solar system and you live in the state of Florida, you are subsidizing someone who does. And as it continues to grow in the state, you’re going to continue to pay more,” he said. Originally, the bill aimed to immediately do away with net metering. Since then, it has been updated to a glide path as McClure calls it where solar panel owners get a decreasing rate over time. By 2029, no more subsidies. Solar panel owners would have been grandfathered in for 20 years.A couple of Democratic lawmakers from Orlando objected.“If we once again enact special interest legislation, specifically legislation that was written by FPL so that they can protect their profits, that is Florida’s people losing,” Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith said. Representative Anna Eskamani said the bill would have devastated the solar industry. “We are potentially putting at risk 40,000 jobs,” she said. She is also defending net metering because she argues it is good for national security. “I ‘m sure we’re all watching the crisis happening overseas right now,” she said. “The more we can expand our independence energy at a hyper-local level including rooftop solar also allows us not to be relieving on these other dangerous governments whether it’s Russia or the Middle East to rely on our oil.”Critics said the bill was not about protecting people’s wallets, but companies’ bottom line.“This is a direct assault on that system and it’s based upon a premise that has not been proven, but one that has been perpetuated by companies like Florida Power and Light who really just want to make more money off consumers rather than embrace the competition,” Eskamani said. FPL previously sent WESH 2 News a statement that read in part: “We support this legislation that aims to create an equitable playing field for everyone because left unchecked, current rooftop solar rules in Florida will cost FPL customers even more in the coming years. We have always believed anyone should have the right and ability to put solar on their roof if they choose to, but we do not believe everyone should be forced to pay for that decision.”

Govt. Ron DeSantis vetoed the state’s proposed net metering bill, which would have ended solar power benefits for residential consumers, on Wednesday.

The governor withheld his approval of the bill, House Bill 741, on the grounds that Florida’s consumers are already facing enough when it comes to price increases, putting his decision at the feet of the current levels of national inflation.

“Given that the United States is experiencing its worst inflation in 40 years and that consumers have seen steep increases in the price of gas and groceries, as well as escalating bills, the state of Florida should not contribute to the financial crunch that our citizens are experiencing,” DeSantis wrote in his veto letter.

Had HB 741 passed, critics say it could have decimated the rooftop solar industry.

But backers of the bill, including Florida Power and Light said the proposal would have evened the playing field.

“At FPL we are always working to deliver clean, reliable energy while keeping customer bills affordable. We remain committed to finding an equitable net metering solution for all Floridians. FPL is leading the nation’s largest solar expansion and we will continue to advance solar that is cost-effective for all our customers,” FPL said in a statement.

Net metering is when people who own solar panels generate more energy than they use. Those people can then sell that excess energy back to the utility companies. The bill sponsor said the goal was to eventually do away with subsidies.

FPL not only backed but helped develop the legislation. The company produced a commercial last month that explains why it supports the proposal.

“Outdated Florida laws are forcing FPL customers who don’t have rooftop solar to pay extra every month for the few who do,” the commercial said.

Republican representative Lawrence McClure sponsored the bill in the House.

“I’m a huge believer in solar. But for the longevity of this industry in this state, this is not a business model or a way of doing it that can stand the test of time,” McClure said.

He said the legislation would level the power field.

“If you don’t have a rooftop solar system and you live in the state of Florida, you are subsidizing someone who does. And as it continues to grow in the state, you’re going to continue to pay more,” he said.

Originally, the bill aimed to immediately do away with net metering. Since then, it has been updated to a glide path as McClure calls it where solar panel owners get a decreasing rate over time. By 2029, no more subsidies. Solar panel owners would have been grandfathered in for 20 years.

A couple of Democratic lawmakers from Orlando objected.

“If we once again enact special interest legislation, specifically legislation that was written by FPL so that they can protect their profits, that is Florida’s people losing,” Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith said.

Representative Anna Eskamani said the bill would have devastated the solar industry.

“We are potentially putting at risk 40,000 jobs,” she said.

She is also defending net metering because she argues it is good for national security.

“I’m sure we’re all watching the crisis happening overseas right now,” she said. “The more we can expand our independence energy at a hyper-local level including rooftop solar also allows us not to be relying on these other dangerous governments whether it’s Russia or the Middle East to rely on our oil.”

Critics said the bill was not about protecting people’s wallets, but companies’ bottom line.

“This is a direct assault on that system and it’s based upon a premise that has not been proven, but one that has been perpetuated by companies like Florida Power and Light who really just want to make more money off consumers rather than embrace the competition, ” Eskamani said.

FPL previously sent WESH 2 News a statement that read in part:

“We support this legislation that aims to create an equitable playing field for everyone because left unchecked, current rooftop solar rules in Florida will cost FPL customers even more in the coming years. We have always believed anyone should have the right and ability to put solar on their roof if they choose to, but we do not believe everyone should be forced to pay for that decision.”

Leave a Comment