Saturday, July 4, 2015

How a headline misinforms readers

There are times when I throw up my hands about newspaper reporting. Or just want to throw up.

Here is a letter to the editor which appeared in this morning's (July 4) Daily Star.

Solar less affordable under ‘net metering’

Re: the June 30 guest opinion "TEP committed to affordable solar energy for community."

In 2014 my elderly parents relocated from the San Francisco Bay Area to be closer to family members here in Tucson. My parents were fortunate enough to purchase a new home, and shortly thereafter to have solar panels installed.

My mother is ecstatic with her new home and solar panels. She and my father have limited financial resources. Many months their electric bill is approximately $5. In addition, coming from California, my mother realizes that water is a precious and often scarce resource. A tremendous amount of water goes into the cooling systems when companies generate electricity. By utilizing solar power, my parents are thus saving water, too.

We need to increase the use of solar energy, not penalize solar rooftop owners with higher rates. However, TEP’s new net-metering plan threatens to penalize people like my parents with higher rates.

So from that final statement in the letter, we get the overly generalized (and factually false) headline.

I just went through a tussle with the Star about one of their letters to the editor that was factually false. Thus I leave it to one of you who might have a stake in your own solar energy system to address this inconsistency with your own letter to the editor. Here is the link.

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