Sign the Represent Us, Not Utilities Pledge

Utility monopolies keep their power by keeping elected officials in their pockets. It’s time we fight back!

These powerful utilities rely on elected officials to support market barriers that make it harder for us to take control of where our electricity comes from. They secure this support not by persuasive arguments, but with paid lobbyists and campaign donations. From 1989 to the present, electric utilities gave more than $452 million in campaign contributions to federal, state, and local candidates and committees through the country.1

Enough is enough! We can no longer tolerate our elected officials supporting utilities who deny us our rights.

Map breaks down utility donations by state. Source: National Institute on Money in State Politics. Click to enlarge.

If you believe that monopoly utilities should not be able to buy and influence their way towards bad policies, that our elected representatives should be independent from private utilities, and that politicians should shape energy policy to benefit all ratepayers and the public interest, please urge your state representatives to declare their independence by signing the “Represent Us, Not Utilities” Pledge:

To maintain independence from monopoly utility interests and to avoid the perception of undue influence on my positions concerning state energy policies, I will take no campaign contributions from utility corporations, their Political Action Committees, lobbyists and executives.

Additional resources

UtilitySecrets.org, (a joint project of the Energy and Policy Institute and the Center for Media and Democracy, tracks electric utility anti-solar lobbying and campaign contributions. These include:

Rooftop Solar Dims Under Pressure From Utility Lobbyists – The New York Times reports on efforts by utilities to slow the development of rooftop solar.

Georgia PSC election war chests helped by Georgia Power, affiliates – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shines a light on utility money flowing to candidates for the Public Service Commission.

Power Play Redux: Political Influence of Florida’s Top Energy Corporations – This report from Integrity Florida tracks campaign and lobbying spending by major Florida utilities. It finds the utilities’ spending had doubled over the past four years compared to the previous ten.

These five organizations spent the most money lobbying Kentucky lawmakers this year – Organizations and companies including Kentucky utilities, electric cooperatives, and the Kentucky Coal Association spent more than $10 million lobbying state lawmakers this year.

Arizona’s dirty energy politics – Report examines the ways utilities have tried to covertly influence energy policy in Arizona.

‘Pay to Play’ in the State Legislature – An editorial from Lynchburg, Virginia’s News & Advance calls for stronger campaign finance rules in reaction to efforts by utilities to strong arm elected officials.

David v. Goliath: Power companies dwarf solar in lobbying fight over SC’s energy future – This article finds solar opponents have outspent solar 3 to 1 as they work to limit the ability of South Carolinians to go solar.

Legislators decry ‘dark money’ influence in primary – This article shows how utilities used front groups to defeat a state representative who opposed them.

Q&A: Michigan lawmaker ends tenure with bitter campaign against utilities – A recently defeated state senator who took on monopoly utilities discusses the role utility money played in his primary loss.

SRP approves $50k donation to fight Arizona RPS initiative – The board of an Arizona utility has approved a $50k donation to fight a ballot initiative to move the state to 50% renewable electricity by 2030, even though the utility, Salt River Project, would not be directly subject to the law.

APS spending against Prop 127 renewable energy initiative reaches $22 million – A new report shows how much money the utility is spending to block the growth of renewable energy.

Utility Industry Contributions to Section 527 Political Organizations – Compiled by the Energy and Policy Institute, this is a comprehensive listing of how utilities are spending political donations. It found more than 70 utility holding companies and subsidiaries contributing  a total of $41.2 million from 2008 through September 2018.

Gilmore: Dominion shouldn’t make campaign contributions – The explains the harm that comes from monopoly utilities like Dominion funding the campaigns of the elected officials who are supposed to regulate them.

Analysis: How Electric Utilities and Their Executives Contributed in Nine Governor Races – A report from the Energy and Policy Institute examines campaign finance data from 2018 gubernatorial campaigns.

Electric utilities quietly praise EPA coal plant emissions rule – A new report examines how utilities used a front organization, the Utility Air Regulatory Group, to covertly support relaxation of pollution rules.

1. Source: National Institute on Money in State Politics; www.followthemoney.org.

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