Environmental Groups Petition FTC To Investigation Electric Utility Abuses

More than 230 consumer, environmental and public interest groups urged the Federal Trade Commission today to investigate the electric utility industry for widespread abuses. These include bribery, fake dark-money campaigns and denying customers access to renewable energy.

“Today abusive utility practices are leading to increased electricity rates, obstruction of clean energy competitors in the face of climate change, and utility interference in democratic processes,” the groups said in the petition to the FTC. “The urgency for a federal investigation of utility companies’ unfair competitive and anti-democratic practices at this time cannot be overstated.”

The petition details widespread anti-competitive abuses by monopoly electric utilities across the country, including tens of millions of dollars in bribes to public officials, bankrolling schemes to run “ghost” candidates to keep political allies in power, and fixing the market to block competitors from providing renewable energy to customers.

“Monopoly utilities are out of control,” said Anya Schoolman, executive director of Solar United Neighbors. “It’s time federal regulators step in and protect consumers.”

“Utilities are gouging ratepayers and cutting off power while they line the pockets of politicians and rig the system to block planet-saving renewable energy,” said Jean Su, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s energy justice program. “Like it did a century ago, the FTC should use its authority to investigate the broken utility industry and stop this blatant self-dealing. The FTC needs to stand up for consumers and give renewable energy competition a fighting chance.”

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