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Group Lauches Efforts To Prevent Energy Deregulation

Alan Levine & Mel Stoutsenberger

A group aimed at keeping reliable energy affordable has launched efforts to try and get ahead of what they believe is a bad idea.

FARE or Floridians for Affordable Reliable Energy is attempting to alert citizens about what they say are the dangers of a petition aimed at changed the states’ electricity market. Citizens for Energy Choices is sponsoring the petition. They say it will lower electricity bills and increase renewable energy options.

Former Tallahassee City Commissioner Gil Ziffer is a member of FARE.

"The state's in the rest of the country that have deregulated, most of them have had very bad end results. In fact, some of them like Massachusetts and Oregon are trying to go back and put the genie back in the bottle. Because it’s just been higher price for consumers,” said Ziffer.

According to FARE in September of 2018, residential customers in deregulated electricity states pay 38% more for power than Florida’s residential customers.

The petition if approved by voters in 2020, would allow people to choose their provider, similar to how you shop for cable or internet providers.

Ziffer says the change would allow bigger energy users to make direct deals with energy companies leaving smaller consumers to cover the cost of that savings.

“The easiest way I can explain it is energy cost what energy cost and if one segment pays less which is the big energy users, that means somebody else has to pay more and the more is going to be the average homeowner it’s going to mean small business it’s going to mean seniors,” said Ziffer.

He says being a past president of Florida League of Cities, and serving in municipal government he knows this amendment is a bad idea.

The petition has around 94 thousand signatures and needs 766 thousand to make it on the 2020 ballot. It has already cleared the threshold for a count review.

Blaise Gainey is a State Government Reporter for WFSU News. Blaise hails from Windermere, Florida. He graduated from The School of Journalism at the Florida A&M University. He formerly worked for The Florida Channel, WTXL-TV, and before graduating interned with WFSU News. He is excited to return to the newsroom. In his spare time he enjoys watching sports, Netflix, outdoor activities and anything involving his daughter.