It’s bad enough that utilities join industry and trade groups that push bad, anti-consumer policy. But it’s even worse that consumers actually foot the bill for those activities.
That’s right, our monthly gas and electric bills help cover the utilities’ membership dues to groups that actively work against our interests.
But there’s a new reform proposal in Washington, the Ethics in Energy Act (H.R. 5075), which, among other things, would close loopholes and require utility shareholders, and not customers, to cover such costs. (We featured this legislation in our weekly e-newsletter: Please send a message to your representatives in Washington in support of this legislation.)
“The Ethics in Energy Act is about shining a light on shady utility spending,” said Bryan McDaniel, CUB’s director of Governmental Affairs. “If the utilities want to fund groups that actively work against consumer interests, they should make the shareholders pay for it, not customers.”
This is a popular idea. Polling by Data for Progress found that a bipartisan majority of voters (76%) disapprove of this practice after a brief introduction to the utility company practice of using money from customers’ monthly bills to fund activities such as trade association membership dues.
Read more about the Ethics in Energy Act (H.R. 5075), which is co-sponsored by Rep Kathy Castor of Florida; Rep. Sean Casten of Illinois; and Rep. Jamaal Bowman of New York. Also, here’s a blog about the legislation, written by our friends at the Energy and Policy Institute.