What is happening
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.
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.
Urge candidates to stand up for your solar rights by pledging not to take donations from monopoly utilities, their political action committees, lobbyists, or executives.
- How you pay for monopoly utility lobbying
- Utility Playbook
- Report on Utility Campaign Against Rooftop Solar
- Documents Reveal Edison Electric Institute Campaign Against Solar
- Paying for Utility Politics: How ratepayers are forced to fund the Edison Electric Institute and other political organizations
- Information about American Electric Power Lobbying
- Information about Arizona Public Service Lobbying
- Information about Berkshire Hathaway Energy Lobbying
- Utility Anti-Solar Lobbying in Florida
- An Energy and Policy Institute analysis of the Republican Governors Association, Republican Attorneys General Association, Republican State Leadership Committee, Democratic Governors Association, Democratic Attorneys General Association, and Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee found over 70 utility holding companies and subsidiaries contributing to anti-solar lobbying groups for a total of $36.4 million from 2008 through 2017.
- An Energy Policy Institute analysis of spending by Florida utilities Duke Energy and Florida Power and Light.
- Bankrupt FirstEnergy Solutions spends millions on bailout campaigns in Ohio and Pennsylvania
Opinion: When Utility Money Talks – Op-ed in the New York Times examines recent scandals in Ohio and Illinois for what they show about how utilities use their financial resources protect their monopoly.
EEI used anti-clean energy campaigns as role models in political boot camp for utility execs – The Energy and Policy Institute reports on a training held by the utility industry designed to teach utilities how to fight campaigns to make them more responsive to the public.
Campaign contributions pay off for Ohio utilities and coal interests – Utilities spent more than $3 million in campaign contributions in Ohio in 2018.
APS won’t spend money on political campaigns for Arizona Corporation Commission, company CEO says – The incoming head of Arizona’s largest investor-owned utility says company will no longer spend money to influence elections.
N.A.A.C.P. Tells Local Chapters: Don’t Let Energy Industry Manipulate You – Report examines how utilities have deployed donations to manufacture support for policies that harm consumers.
Exelon sued over lobbying investigation – Giant utility Exelon is being sued for improperly conveying to shareholders that the company was under investigation for its lobbying practices.
APS and The Divine Right of Utilities – A report from the Arizona Advocacy Network shows how the state’s largest utility, APS has spent millions of dollars to influence the elections of the elected officials charged with regulating the utility.
Dominion Energy spent record-breaking sum in Virginia election to bolster embattled Republicans and legislative allies – A new report finds the utility spent $1.8 million during Virginia’s most recent election. This is the most the company has ever spent in a two-year period.
How Energy Companies Corrupt State Politics – Story examines how utilities like Virginia’s Dominion Energy spend money to curry favorable legislation and the effort to stop this.
APS acknowledges spending millions to elect Corporation Commission members, after years of questions – Arizona utility APS spent $12.9 million on more than a dozen front groups to influence elections for the people charged with regulating the utility.
Utility-linked group seeks to dismantle net metering in Michigan – Report examines how utility DTE is using front groups to attack net metering.
Newly-elected Arizona commissioner prepares to subpoena APS over political spending – The Arizona Corporation Commission will look into how the state’s largest utility uses money to influence the elected officials charged with regulating it.
Utility PAC donations rolled in ahead of solar industry bill fight – Four big utility interests pumped $327,050 into the political committees of legislative candidates and the political parties during the 2018 election cycle.
Embattled California utility spent most for 2018 lobbying – Utility PG&E spent more than $10 million in lobbying in California last year, more than any other entity.
Michigan regulators clamp down on utility’s political spending – The Michigan Public Service Commission has banned Consumers Energy from using corporate money to fund non-profit political advocacy.
THE DOMINION TAX: How Virginians Pay Millions Extra to Subsidize Dominion’s Legalized Corruption – A report from Clean Virginia finds that utility ratepayers are paying hundreds of dollars per year more than they should.
Utilities Made A Final Push To Aid Republican and Democratic Governors, Associations Leading Up To The Election – A report from the Energy & Policy Institute finds that utility lobbies spent more than $1.5 in just the last month of the 2018 election.
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.
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.
Gilmore: Dominion shouldn’t make campaign contributions – The Executive Director of Clean Virginia explains the harm that comes from monopoly utilities like Dominion funding the campaigns of the elected officials who are supposed to regulate them.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Legislators decry ‘dark money’ influence in primary – This article shows how utilities used front groups to defeat a state representative who opposed them.
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.
‘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.
Arizona’s dirty energy politics – Report examines the ways utilities have tried to covertly influence energy policy in Arizona.
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.
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.
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.
Rooftop Solar Dims Under Pressure From Utility Lobbyists – The New York Times reports on efforts by utilities to slow the development of rooftop solar.
California prevents utility from paying EEI dues with ratepayer funds – The decision shows regulators pushing back against allowing utilities to force their ratepayers to fund lobbying including anti-solar efforts.
- Source: National Institute on Money in State Politics; www.followthemoney.org.
What you can do
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.