THE BLOG
02/11/2014 03:44 pm ET | Updated Apr 13, 2014

New Ad Reveals Duke's Monopoly Protection Plan

Those of you who are following the solar industry may have heard that Duke Energy is speaking out publicly against rooftop solar and net metering. Recently, Duke CEO Lynn Good met with local reporters in North Carolina and attacked rooftop solar to defend Duke's monopoly.

Net metering is a policy in place in 43 states that gives rooftop solar customers full retail credit for the excess energy they deliver back to the grid. Utilities turn around and sell this exported energy at the full retail rate to the neighbors, even though they paid nothing to generate, transmit or distribute that cleaner power. Utilities like Duke, Arizona Public Service, and Xcel want to eliminate net metering to stifle rooftop solar and protect their monopolies.

New ads from TUSK (Tell Utilities Solar Won't be Killed) launched last week to highlight that Duke's opposition to net metering is a profit-protection plan. As you'll see here, Duke CEO Lynn Good affirms that she's just "ensuring we get paid":

Duke's actions align with the anti-rooftop solar playbook put forth by their trade association, Edison Electric Institute (EEI). Many utilities across the country adhere to this playbook, and they've even resorted to dirty tactics to preserve their antiquated monopolies.

For example, Arizona Public Service (APS) funded a multimillion-dollar anti-solar campaign last year. An entire web of dark money surfaced when reports of APS lying repeatedly about funding phony grassroots organizations and ads attacking their own customers surfaced. Unsurprisingly, the utility trade association, Edison Electric Institute (EEI), joined APS with its own TV and radio ads attacking rooftop solar customers. Despite spending millions and damaging their own brands, APS and EEI failed. Regulators upheld net metering, and Arizonans still love solar. What they did accomplish was dragging down APS's net approval with its own customers by 13 points.

Duke has entered the fray and should also fear the overwhelming public support for rooftop solar and an alternative to the monopoly. As TASC has explained, utilities do have a choice. They can figure out how to adapt to avoid following in APS's failed footsteps. Duke can still make the right choice, but Lynn Good's words and actions indicate that she lacks that vision.