A Texas-based group appears to be behind an effort to misrepresent a number of electricity consumers in Wisconsin. The Consumer Energy Alliance is alleged to have sent in 2,500 names of Wisconsin residents who were said to support increasing fixed costs for residential consumers of electricity. The proposed rate increases could deter residents from getting home solar systems, because they would have to pay more on their monthly bills.
However, a woman who was interviewed by someone from the Consumer Energy Alliance said she opposes the rate increase, but her name wound up on CEA’s list of names saying she supports it.
Another man on the list said he couldn’t remember speaking to CEA, and does not support the rate hike. Making matters worse was the fact that actual signatures were not included. PSC administrative law judge Michael Newmark said that omission was not the usual way of doing things.
A CEA representative said they didn’t want to print out all the names because doing so would be a waste of paper. (This is sort of a hilarious considering that solar power is being opposed, though it is better for the environment.)
It may be that no one except CEA knows what went on when the list of names was compiled. However, it was questionable enough that it wasn’t allowed to be considered by state regulators.
Just to be clear, the CEA is financially backed by large oil and gas companies. It seems nearly criminal for a lobbyist group from another state to be interfering with public policies that could damage the expansion of solar power in Wisconsin, and raise electricity rates on low-income residents.
Have you heard of propaganda campaigns created by lobbyist groups that seek to confuse the public about solar power or other forms of renewable energy? A recent New York Times article detailed some of the goals that a lobbyist supported by oil and gas companies has in terms of confusing the public about renewable energy.
It is possible that there will be more anti-solar campaigns coming out, because the cost of solar has dropped so much that it can no longer be said that solar is unaffordable.