So freeing yourself from big energy, and becoming more self-sufficient, makes you a “freerider?”
The Fear of Freeloaders: Conservatives hate it when others get something for nothing. That’s the tact ALEC is taking to appeal to the conservative base, in what could only be described as a Salvador Dali like agenda attacking green conscious consumers. It's so counter-intuitive.
Freedom loving tea party voters are now being told by their local energy company monopolies, that they’re not free to create their own energy. Huh? In fact, that company can penalize you for feeding your excess solar or wind energy into their noncompetitive infrastructure. Competition? Outrageous.
This convoluted concept is just confusing enough to for low information voters to default to a simpler message from the corporate lobbyists at ALEC, who by the way, include many of your not-so-hardworking Republican legislators. The Guardian:
ALEC: An alliance of corporations and conservative activists is mobilizing to penalize homeowners who install their own solar panels – casting them as "freeriders" – in a sweeping new offensive against renewable energy, the Guardian has learned.
American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec) will promote legislation with goals ranging from penalizing individual homeowners and weakening state clean energy regulations ... blocking Barack Obama from cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and state governments from promoting the expansion of wind and solar power through regulations known as Renewable Portfolio Standards.
Documents obtained by the Guardian … Alec wanted to lower the rate electricity companies pay homeowners for direct power generation – and maybe even charge homeowners for feeding power into the grid. "As it stands now, those direct generation customers are essentially freeriders on the system. They are not paying for the infrastructure they are using. In effect, all the other non direct generation customers are being penalized," he said.
Jaw dropping enough? Are you a believer yet? Need more convincing? It’s down the rabbit hole for more:
"How are they going to get that electricity from their solar panel to somebody else's house?" he said. "They should be paying to distribute the surplus electricity." In November, Arizona became the first state to charge customers for installing solar panels. The fee, which works out to about $5 a month for the average homeowner, was far lower than that sought by the main electricity company, which was seeking to add up to $100 a month to customers' bills.
Really, Arizona voters would have been good with their energy company charging them $100 for taking free sunlight or wind energy from Mother Nature? That doesn't sound loco to them, a corporate overreach?
Gabe Elsner, director of the Energy and Policy Institute, said "They are trying to eliminate pro-solar policies in the states to protect utility industry profits."
Renewable Portfolio Standards require electricity companies to source a share of their power from wind, solar, biomass, or other clean energy. In the confidential materials, prepared for the August board meeting, Alec claimed to have made significant inroads against such clean energy policies in 2013. "Approximately 15 states across the country introduced legislation to reform, freeze or repeal their state's renewable mandate," the taskforce reported.