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Group vows to continue fight for solar, reveals lobbying of Latino legislators by utilities industry

August 19, 2013 (Los Angeles)  In response to a letter written by Southern California Edison demanding that a parody video posted on the website www.SaveRooftopSolar.com be removed from YouTube, leaders of Presente.org have refused to remove the video. Instead, they vowed to continue their efforts of exposing Southern California Edison and other energy companies that have lobbied against solar panel initiatives throughout California.

These utility companies have targeted Latino legislators throughout the state in an attempt to abolish solar panel initiatives and to stop working class families from gaining access to this a major form of sustainable energy, the group said. The video titled "Edison hates rooftop solar" released by Presente.org and the Other98.com , satirizes Southern California Edison and the other companies who have taken part in these efforts.

In response, Arturo Carmona Executive Director of Presente and John Sellers, Executive Director of The Other 98% released the following statements:

“Southern California Edison’s threats against us are a joke,” said Arturo Carmona, Executive Director of Presente.org. “Instead of trying to divert the public’s attention by threatening to take legal action against our video parody, Edison and other utilities need to tell the public why they’ve spent nearly $900,000 lobbying Latino legislators.”

Assemblyman Ben Hueso, who represents San Diego’s East County, has taken over $28,000 in campaign contributions from the electric utilities industry, according to Maplight.com. http://maplight.org/california/legislator/1389-ben-hueso

“Our video parody exposes how and why they are trying to deliver a lethal blow on the future of rooftop solar, Carmona added. “Instead of scaring us with their baseless legal threats, Edison and other big utilities have succeeded in motivating us even further to take our video to key television stations in Latino districts so that our community can better understand what some Latino legislators and these utilities are doing to kill cost-saving rooftop solar efforts”

"The use of corporate logos for satire is standard practice recognized by law. But Southern California Edison obviously doesn't care for the satirical message of this video," said John Sellers of The Other 98%. "They're mad as hell that we've exposed their lobby’s calculated attempt to squelch the state’s rooftop solar economy. Attacking rooftop solar means putting at risk solar jobs and energy savings. And it perpetuates our reliance on dangerous energy sources like coal, natural gas, and nuclear."

AB 327, the current legislation introduced by Assembly Member Henry T. Perea in the California state legislature, would add significant fixed charges to energy bills for users in Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric territories. These fixed charges would amount to $10 a month, or $120 annually, and could not be avoided by conserving energy or using rooftop solar energy.

The legislation proposed represents the latest effort by the big utility lobby to curve the growth of rooftop solar in California. The state is by far the largest solar market in the nation, making California's rooftop solar battle a significant bellwether for the future of renewable energy across the country.

“With air and water pollution from dirty power plants often affecting the most vulnerable among us across our nation - particularly children, the elderly, and low income communities - and record droughts, wildfires, and extreme weather patterns becoming more destructive, it has never been more critical that we do everything we can to transition to clean energy solutions like rooftop solar” said Carmona.

Edison's tactic of suing over logo trademark infringement is similar to strong-arm tactics used by Nextera, which sued a Canadian activist who posted a video of the company removing an eagle nest to make way for a wind farm.  That video parodied Nextera's logo, calilng the company "Next Terror."  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2013/06/10/nextera-gives-a-nexus-card-to...  That activist, too, has refused to take down the video.

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