A coalition dedicated to bringing true free-market competition to Florida’s energy marketplace today called on the Constitution Revision Commission to embrace a proposal that would allow consumers to choose where they receive electricity.
In a news conference call, Florida Energy Freedom – including leaders from the energy sector, conservationists, and corporations such as Walmart – said a competitive market for electricity in the state would reduce prices by approximately 25 percent, saving Florida consumers and businesses up to $7.5 billion annually by 2030. Had a competitive electrical market already existed in Florida in 2016, annual savings would have been up to $6 billion, representing the steep cost of inaction.
A measure to create “Electric Choice,” known as Proposal 51, will come before a committee of the Constitution Revision Commission this Friday. If approved by the committee and later by the full commission, the measure will go before Florida voters on the November general election ballot. An independent consumer opinion survey for the American Coalition of Competitive Energy Suppliers showed that 78 percent of Floridians want energy choice.
“In other states’ experience, giving consumers energy choice has led to efficiency, jobs, and innovation,” said Florida Energy Freedom President Rich Blaser. “The once in 20 year Constitution revision process provides a rare opportunity for action that will benefit consumers and move Florida to the forefront of innovation.”
Florida is the only one among the nation’s seven most populous states to deny consumers any choice in how they access electricity. A competitive electricity market in Florida would deliver three main benefits for all Floridians:
- Lower prices: choice would lower prices by approximately 25 percent, according to a new analysis by the Texas-based Perryman Group, producing annual savings up to $7.5 billion by 2030, energizing economic growth, job creation, and a lower cost of living.
- Innovation: Energy freedom for Floridians would inspire creativity in everything from off-peak scheduling for businesses to new ‘smart house’ innovations. It would also make renewable resources more accessible.
- Improved quality: When consumers have the freedom to change providers, companies are motivated to earn their business through better customer service.
Chris Hendrix, Director of Markets & Compliance for Walmart Stores, Inc., estimated that Proposal 51 would save the retail giant about $15 million per year. “From 2007 to 2016, our costs in competitive electricity markets decreased by about 7 percent on average,” he said. “These savings would not only lower costs for stores, but for consumers as well.”
Blaser pointed to the experience in Texas, which has enjoyed an open electricity market for more than a decade after energy generation was uncoupled from energy distribution. This change has resulted in over $5 billion in annual savings, the creation of more than 100,000 jobs, annual sales revenues of $761 billion, and $338 million in resources to local governments throughout Texas. In Florida, a competitive electric market would fuel the creation of an estimated 90,000 – 105,000 permanent jobs.
Dr. Ray Perryman, president and CEO of the Perryman Group in Waco, Texas, said his analysis shows the steep cost of inaction for Florida. “Some opponents of this proposal would lead consumers to believe that residential customers do not benefit from electricity choice. However the exact opposite is true,” Dr. Perryman said. “Residential customers in particular would benefit from this initiative. With numbers like these, supporting electric freedom isn’t only a good choice, it’s the right thing to do.”
An additional benefit was shared by Jim Presswood of the Earth Stewardship Alliance. “Consumer freedom in Florida’s electricity market would reduce energy bills, enhance customer value, and benefit the environment. This would include access to more clean energy services providers, which can help Floridians reduce pollution,” he said.
Florida Energy Freedom is an inclusive organization of diverse electricity users who are dedicated to inspiring sustainable change in Florida’s electricity market. Its mission is to allow Floridians to take advantage of the same competitive forces they use in purchasing all other services. Learn more at FloridaEnergyFreedom.org.