Electric option should be opt-in, not opt-out
The Fairhaven Selectboard has been petitioned by a group called The Climate Reality Project Southcoast to allow an automatic increase of 10% to Fairhaven’s purchase of renewable energy to be assessed on your monthly electric bill. If Climate Reality is successful with their petition the ratepayer (you) will be required to check a box to “opt-out” of the optional increase.
Initially, we were led to believe that The Climate Reality Project South-coast was a local group. It isn’t. The Climate Reality Project Southcoast is a “chapter” of a nationally-funded group founded by former Vice President Gore in 2005. They are lobbying our Selectboard heavily through surveys crafted partially by them and a scripted petition campaign (see their website or Climate Reality for background).
This national group seems to have garnered the support of Fairhaven’s Sustainability Committee and Conservation Commission. It’s concerning that the town survey includes this group’s logo alongside the Fairhaven Sustainability Committee’s official seal.
Climate Reality realizes that during these trying times most folks clearly have other things on their minds and most likely aren’t paying close attention to their monthly electric bills. The concern is this, if you don’t notice and select the “opt-out” option you will automatically pay the optional renewable energy increase.
For the average ratepayer, this fee would increase a few dollars a month, to climate change activists a small price to pay to save the planet. To the average Fairhaven resident during these trying times, it’s significant. For the elderly person on a fixed income, struggling to pay taxes, who might not notice the “opt-out” box, it could mean not buying the extra gallon of milk that month. For town businesses, the fees could be hundreds of dollars per month. The increase is optional and all that we ask is that the ratepayer simply has the choice to “opt-in” on the bill and not be required to “opt-out’ of the increase. It’s that simple.
John Methia, Fairhaven
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