Advocacy group “TURNs” its back on ratepayers

The Utility Reform Network (TURN) claims to be an organization that “holds utilities accountable by demanding fair rates, cleaner energy, and strong customer protections,” but it has recently been cozying up to monopoly utilities.  

Over the past several months, Matt Freedman, the staff attorney for TURN, has made public remarks that strongly contradict the mission of the organization.  He has sided with utilities in their fight against rooftop solar energy and spread messages that mirror the propaganda that utilities have been using to spook ratepayers and maintain their monopolistic position in the power industry.  It’s no surprise that Arizona Power Service (APS) used Freedman’s statements in its campaign against rooftop solar.

Most recently, APS used the synergy with Freedman to feature one of his comments in an anti-net metering ad in the Phoenix Business Journal.



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The ads demonstrate that Freedman’s “TURN” toward the utility is not just limited to California. It appears both the California investor-owned utilities and APS have TURN in their (deep) pockets.

At a time when two thirds of California home solar installations now occur in low and median income neighborhoods, such a position indicates clear disregard for ratepayers of all incomes who want to save money by generating solar power from their roofs.  

Freedman has come out publicly against net metering on multiple occasions.    Recently in E&E Publishing’s ClimateWire, he advocated for a “scaling back” of the program.  His comments not only ignore the reality that rooftop solar is on the rise in low and median income communities, but also contradict public opinion.  For example, a recent poll conducted among Latino voters in Southern California shows that 80% of Latinos in the region think state legislators should make increasing rooftop solar a priority.  A full 70% of the poll respondents support net metering.

According to Antonio Gonzalez, president of the American Latino political research institute WVCI, “Latinos are making choices about their preferences of energy sources and those choices are clearly Green and rooted in not only public health concerns but excitement about the job potential that rooftop solar growth provides.”

TURN has chosen to abandon the concerns of the ratepayers it is supposedly protecting, and instead align with monopoly utilities.  The organization has shown its willingness to sacrifice the public health, employment and economic benefits that of clean energy to stay cozy with investor-owned utilities and help those monopolies hold on to their profits.