Stronger Voices for a Stronger Future
Track Record of Success Our all-women team brings over a decade of diverse experience to the table, ranging from media training for day-to-day non-profit advocacy work to rapid-response crisis management, from city commission to presidential campaigns, from statewide ballot initiatives to targeted policy analysis. We understand the rapidly changing media and social media landscape and utilize long-standing relationships and adaptable strategies to secure wide audience engagement and valuable earned media, all with one goal in mind - positive progress.
Let's talk! Whether you are ready to build a long-term strategy or need help tackling an isolated, time-sensitive crisis, CSS could be the perfect solution to mobilize the progress you are hoping to see. Reach out to Alissa Jean Schafer directly by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
ALISSA JEAN SCHAFER on the record:
Energy companies were behind some bills filed in Tallahassee this year, public records show. WUSF. “So when a corporation comes into a legislative environment with a bill proposal or word-for-word, what they want the legislation to be, what they want the law of the land to be, they're doing that with one priority, and that is increasing their profit,” Schafer said. “But if you take a step back ... Floridians are kind of being taken advantage of, unfortunately. And we're stuck with higher bills, millions of dollars in lost revenue as a state, as taxpayers.”
DeSantis signs bill that critics say could lead to higher water rates. Politico. "We’re already seeing so many other costs go up, from property insurance to our power bills," Alissa Jean Schafer, research and communication manager of the Energy and Policy Institute, told POLITICO on Monday. "And now with the signing of this bill, folks will likely see the cost for their water go up as well."
Locals to Know Feature. The New Tropic. "An informed and actively voting community is a very powerful thing, with the ability to address the things we are all dealing with, including skyrocketing rent, property insurance, lack of healthcare options, attacks on human rights, and on and on. I know that the current state of politics feels like a toxic, corrupt waste of time, and trust me, I get it. But simply tuning it out and hoping things fix themselves is a losing strategy from the start, and all of us Floridians are paying the price. That literal and metaphorical bill gets higher every month."
Earth First Feature. Palm Beach Illustrated. "Going solar is a critical way that folks can generate the cleanest electricity and reduce their footprint at home," says Alissa Jean Schafer of the Energy and Policy Institute. "If you own your own roof, whether on your home or your business, you [can] generate your own clean energy by using solar and solar-plus batteries. The cost of these systems, including the batteries, has come down dramatically over the last decade. The rooftop solar program in Florida is called net metering.
Solar to gas stoves: What to know about DeSantis and energy. E&E Energy Wire. “Florida is a huge state. Local governments are the folks that are closest to their communities. They understand if they have folks that want to save money on their energy bills and want to have energy efficient appliances and want to electrify everything,” said Alissa Schafer.
A 'freak accident’: Dimmitt dairy farm explosion kills most cattle in Texas history. KLBK, Texas. “Methane is highly toxic,” Schafer said. “It’s also highly flammable, so when you see something like a giant explosion, nearly 20,000 cattle being killed, that immediately sets off alarms.”
Ron DeSantis’s climate contradictions. Semafor. “We’re seeing utilities lobby on tax breaks for [natural-gas-derived] hydrogen, natural gas, and other things that translate to further investment in fossil fuel infrastructure,” said Alissa Schafer, a Florida-based researcher at the Energy and Policy Institute, a utilities watchdog group. “The Public Service Commission are rubber-stampers, and DeSantis is letting them do that.”
Florida’s local elected officials worry state preemption bills could ‘chill’ local policymaking. Orlando Weekly. “Pollution, we know generally, is not just a blanket thing that covers an entire state all at once. It happens usually in very localized instances,” said Schafer, in explanation of the bill’s potential impact. “So to have a bill that would literally handcuff the people that are close to the pollution from doing anything about what is happening to the waterways, for example, in their own neighborhoods is absolutely ridiculous,” she added, calling these bills “political theater.”
Incoming Florida utility chief's priority: no more scandals. Reuters. "It will take more than a change of guard for the utility to shake off the scandals that took place under Silagy, said Schafer. "Even if you put somebody who is a perfectly fine individual with a financial background and doesn't have this aggressive history... it doesn't necessarily make up for the fact of all that did happen in very recent history," Schafer said.
Bills would preempt local energy and water regulation while protecting gas stoves Politico. Alissa Schafer of the Energy and Policy Institute, an energy and utility watchdog group, told POLITICO the legislation represents an “aggressive overreach” by the state. “It’s reminiscent of when Florida officials weren’t even allowed to say climate change and sea level rise,” she said, recalling a 2015 political controversy under then-Gov. Rick Scott.
House proposal would aid water companies seeking utility takeovers. Politico. Still, Alissa Schafer of Energy and Policy Institute, a utility watchdog group, told POLITICO the Florida legislation interests NextEra because it can "acquire water utilities at a premium, pass that premium onto captive customers, and then earn higher profits from yet another stack of monopoly cash."
Florida Power & Light CEO Eric Silagy Retires in Wake of Matrix Consultant Scandal. Miami New Times. "Alissa Jean Schafer, a research and communications manager at the Energy and Policy Institute, tells New Times she finds the abrupt nature of Silagy's departure from the utility unusual. She says utility customers and investors alike should be concerned by the news –– and that regardless of who leads the company going forward, accountability is critical. “The early retirement of FPL CEO Eric Silagy certainly raises many questions,” Schafer says.
CASE FILE: Florida Power & Light’s Corrupt Election Hustle. Why Are We Like This, podcast. "In this case file, we talk with Alissa Jean Schafer (@alissajean) about how FPL has affected political outcomes via media and elections to further their own interests at the expense of their customers. It goes deeper and gets dirtier than you can imagine."
Power Games In Florida. More Perfect Union. "There’s a huge political scandal unfolding across Florida that’s almost too outrageous to believe, even for Florida. This scandal involves millions of dollars in corporate money, billions of dollars in corporate revenue and profit, and reaches all the way up to Governor Ron DeSantis, roping in the vast majority of the state government along with him."
Buying a House as a Single Woman: What You Need To Know. The Balance. "The world is crazy right now, especially for women. Owning property is a very real way for us to literally stake our claim and invest in our future,” said Schafer. “My first home may not be the dream spot that I had once imagined living in with a partner, but it’s solidly within my budget, it’s comfortable, and it’s as safe and secure as I can make it for me and my daughter.”
The fossil fuel industry's fake news sites. Heated. "Ultimately, revealing such deception is the best way to combat it," said Schafer. “Utilities want to be seen as your friendly local power provider,” she said. “It’s not advantageous to be known as a political operative.”
FPL Controversy. WFLA Tampa Channel 8 News. Schafer spoke with WFLA reporter Libbey Dean about FPL's connections to the ongoing scandals and criminal investigations throughout the state.
Leaked: FL Power Co. Secretly Took Over 'News' Site, Ran Fake Candidates, Targeted Critics. Nationally syndicated BradCast. For insight into this (these) still unfolding scandal (scandals), we're joined today by ALISSA JEAN SCHAFER, the FL-based Research and Communications Manager for the Energy and Policy Institute, a non-profit "watchdog organization working to expose attacks on renewable energy and counter misinformation by fossil fuel and utility interests". Her organization certainly has its work cut out for it with this gobsmacking "web of scandal," as Schafer describes it.
Move over net zero, 'real zero' is one-upping you: A utility adopts a new term to show it's serious about the climate crisis. Business Insider. "The future of green hydrogen is exciting. But it's also a big question mark," Alissa Schafer, the research and communications manager at the Energy and Policy Institute, said. "It depends on how quickly it scales up and how green it will really be. Worst-case scenario, we'll see that the promise of green hydrogen justified the construction of natural-gas infrastructure."
FPL flexes its muscle in Florida Legislature, but DeSantis says no on net metering. Orlando Sentinel. "Alissa Schafer at the Energy and Policy Institute said the governor’s veto “ensures for now that rooftop solar will not die at the hands of the largest monopoly utility in the state.”
Anti-rooftop solar bill vetoed: An industry reacts. PV Magazine. "HB 741 was written by FPL and wrapped in political contributions, delivered with a bow on it by the utility’s own lobbyist to Senate Sponsor Jennifer Bradley (R) late last year, along with over $20,000 in political contributions to Bradley’s fundraising committee.”
How a Florida Power Project Flew Under the Regulatory Radar. The New York Times. "Whether we’re talking about control of the P.S.C., the Legislature or even down to the local city level,” Ms. Schafer said, “with Florida Power & Light, time and time again we see this track record of them doing whatever they feel they need to do to protect their monopoly.”
Power Plays. Miami Community News. 25 minute live segment. "Research and Policy Manager for Energy and Policy Institute, Alissa Schafer discusses with former state Rep. Robert Asencio politics and power companies in Florida."
The future of solar in Florida will get much darker unless DeSantis vetoes bill. Orlando Sentinel. "...The goal was clear — to “solidify the utility’s monopoly grip on its customers and unnecessarily squash an entire industry by putting an expiration date on the current rooftop solar policy.” So says Alissa Jean Schafer"
In Florida, DeSantis May End the Battle Over Rooftop Solar With a Pen Stroke. Inside Climate News. "Alissa Schafer, a research and communications specialist at the Energy and Policy Institute, a watchdog group, said that McClure was basing his argument on a study that was carried out by “a utility front group.” Schafer lamented that the anti-solar bill passed despite public opposition and testimony against the legislation.
In Florida, ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill heads to governor’s desk amid wave of anti-LGBTQ bills nationwide. The Boston Globe. "Schafer, the South Florida mother, said she fears the ripple effects of the bill. “We are all trying to do the best for our families, no matter what families look like,” she said. “Legislation like this is catering toward a really specific group of voters and galvanizing this hatred we are seeing nationally. Unfortunate is not a strong enough word.”
Exploring Life & Business with Alissa Jean Schafer of Copper Stamp Strategy. Voyage Miami. "The future of politics belongs to those who are able to bridge those gaps genuinely and consistently, and that’s going to mean learning new skills and new tech to effectively communicate with all stakeholders, not just the ones who happen to already be sitting in town hall. In other words, there are many more stories yet to be told as we work together toward progress."
Jim Robo’s quest to turn a dirty old electric utility into the world’s mostly-green energy powerhouse. Climate & Capital Media. "NextEra is the only large investor-owned utility that has not set any absolute carbon reduction goal,” says Alissa Jean Schafer.
Mystery of Florida's "ghost" candidates grows: Major energy company linked to GOP scheme. Salon. "It's a huge opportunity for FPL, given the political landscape, to flex their political power on spending, important relationship-building, and direct political contributions before you even get to the stuff where it's a little bit more shady and buried in levels of political committees," Schafer said in an interview. "If you look at the comments that the company makes, for example, in their quarterly reports, they talk about Florida as being a friendly regulatory environment. And that is very intentional. It's a result of the work that they have done to control the political environment..."
How To Advocate For Change In A Republican Suburb. Bustle. “The activism that takes place in the suburbs is less in-your-face — it’s more ‘quiet,’ but I would say that it is equally if not potentially more important and more effective than some of the louder forms of activism we might see in big cities,” she says. That’s not to say that the magnetic rallies, protests, or marches that tend to get the most airtime aren’t essential to activism. In fact, Schafer’s been closely following along as protesters block the...
The Florida Roundup, October 29 episode. Florida NPR. Starting at the ~25 min. mark, this 20-minute segment played statewide, covering the decision from state utility regulators that approved a series of base-rate increases for Florida Power & Light that will result in higher monthly bills for customers, starting in January. Floridians can expect price hikes up to 20% over the next several years.
Miami-Dade’s new plan to cut emissions in half by 2030 only gets 2/3 of the way there. Miami Herald. “It’s incredibly important for municipalities to be setting these goals even though they’re limited in how much they can do to achieve them because of the total monopoly that utilities have set up,” said Alissa Jean Schafer, a research and communications specialist at the Energy and Policy Institute. She said Florida Power & Light is the only investor-owned utility that doesn’t have a goal to reduce its absolute carbon emissions."
Clearwater Gas paid millions for sponsorships, far outspending its peers. Tampa Bay Times. “The dollar amount is almost less important than the real implications of what they’re doing, because influence over decision makers can come at a wide range of dollar amounts,” Schafer said. “It’s the emphasis on spending money to build those relationships to then turn around and get an outcome that’s going to be favorable to the company.”
Man behind ‘ghost’ candidate cash also led dark-money group supporting Florida’s big utility companies. Orlando Sentinel: “Utilities have a track record of responding very quickly and very aggressively against anything that they perceive as a threat,” said Alissa Jean Schafer, a researcher at the Energy and Policy Institute, an industry watchdog group."
Ron Desantis Signs a Bill That Mandates Cities Keep Using Fossil Fuels. Gizmodo: “We’re seeing the impacts of climate change already in Florida, so cities are trying to do whatever they can to move the needle,” she said. “They’re using whatever political power they have to say this is the goal. And as cities are making these goals, it sends a signal to the legislators and utilities that this is important.” But this bill, Schafer said, could extend widely, potentially restricting cities from making changes in areas like energy efficiency codes and building regulations, or from running education campaigns about climate change and clean energy. “The bill leaves a lot up to interpretation,” she said. “We regularly see utilities fight nonbinding resolutions anyways. Now that this is in their back pocket, is this just going to give them ammo?”
Rooftop Solar Incentives At Stake In Upcoming Green Cove Springs Council Vote. WJCT: “It only affects a few people, and they're a small town in Florida, but big picture this is definitely a step in the wrong direction for Florida, as a whole,” said Alissa Schafer, a communications and research specialist for the Energy and Policy Institute (EPI), a national watchdog organization. “We have seen utilities throughout the state and different interest groups throughout the state looking at net metering policy very intently or even seeing it pop up at the state level in legislation. The concern here is that it's setting a really bad precedent for rooftop solar, in Florida, as we know, we need every tool in the toolbox to be moving towards a clean energy future, and rooftop solar is part of that.”
Do legislators want to do your city’s job? These preemption bills suggest they do. Miami Herald: "Alissa Schafer, a commissioner for the Broward County Soil and Water Conservation District, said that when it comes to the energy sector, Florida is following a pattern happening across the nation by advancing bills pushed by the oil and gas industry that attempt to reverse clean energy initiatives at the local level and impose restrictions on any new ones."
South Florida 100 - Our panel of 100 influential leaders discusses the most important issues affecting you. Sun Sentinel: Section updated regularly. "Secretary Haaland has a history of fighting against oil and gas exploration, a stark contrast to her predecessor David Bernhardt, former oil lobbyist. Haaland’s words give me hope for the future: “Growing up in my mother’s Pueblo household made me fierce. I’ll be fierce for all of us, our planet, and all of our protected land.”
Progressive coalition calls preemption bills state power grab. Florida Politics: “These bills will literally take away local governments’ rights to decide how our homes and our businesses are powered. This is an incredible overreach of government,” she said.
Sunrise, A Florida Politics Podcast. March 24, 2021 episode: Alissa Jean Schafer of the Broward Soil and Water Conservation District speaking about preemption legislation "power grab" Begins at about 13:20 mark.
Community Engagement in Renewable Energy Development at the WRISE Leadership Forum. "We are at a moment in history where the transition to renewables is not a question of IF, but WHEN and HOW WELL. Good community engagement will help ensure that this transition is done in a way that is equitable, accelerated, and future-focused."
Live with Robert Asencio. Miami's Community Newspapers: Alissa Schafer is LIVE on Miami's Community News. Robert Asencio talks with Alissa Schafer, researcher for the Energy & Policy Institute.
Smear campaign? FL ethics panel dismisses complaint against clean-energy advocate. Florida Pheonix: “The timeline of events surrounding this smear campaign paints a picture of an attempt to personally intimidate me and discredit my work focused on utility accountability,” Schafer told the Phoenix on Tuesday. “Holding special interests accountable places a bit of a target on my back, but to me that simply underscores the importance of this work.”
Is Rooftop Solar Under Threat In Florida? If So, Jacksonville Could Offer Glimpse Into Future. WJCT: "When they’re making disingenuous statements, I think we need to be sure to call that out," said Alissa Schafer, a communications and research specialist for the Energy and Policy Institute (EPI), a national watchdog organization.
How wind and solar toppled Exxon from its place as America’s top energy company. Quartz: "They recognize the cost-effectiveness of renewables in other states,” says Alissa Schafer, a researcher at the Energy and Policy Institute, a DC-based think tank. “But in Florida, they’re continuing to ride the gravy train of natural gas.”
Solar farms dot red Florida. Will it bolster action on climate change? Palm Beach Post: "It's much lower than it could be and than it should be," Schafer said of the overall energy industry's solar-based output. "In the conversations that utilities are having at earnings meetings with investors they talk about how cost effective solar and renewable energy is and yet we are not quite seeing it to the level that we could and should here. On the other hand, we have in Florida such a heavy reliance on fossil fuels, specifically natural gas, and that can be a financial risk."
America’s Greenest Energy Giant Isn’t Trying to Save the Planet. Bloomberg: In Florida, for example, NextEra subsidiary Florida Power & Light joined other utilities to spend $20 million promoting an unsuccessful 2016 ballot initiative that would have curbed rooftop solar arrays, drawing criticism from Al Gore. “Over the last several years, NextEra has been very aggressive against customer-owned solar,” says Alissa Schafer, a researcher with the Energy and Policy Institute, a clean energy advocacy group.