Credit: Patrick Semansky / AP

When households in the United States pay their gas and electric bills, they’re paying for energy, the wires and pipelines it takes to get that energy into their home, and the costs of maintaining that infrastructure. But those monthly payments could also be funding efforts by utilities to lobby against climate policies

While federal law prohibits utilities from recovering lobbying expenses from customers, consumer advocates say that those rules lack teeth and aren’t sufficiently enforced. Now, states are taking the lead to ban the practice. According to the utility watchdog group Energy and Policy Institute, lawmakers in eight states, including California and Maryland, have introduced bills this year that would block utilities from charging customers for the costs of lobbying, advertising, trade association dues, and other political activities. The measures build on a growing trend in state policy: Last year, Colorado, Connecticut, and Maine became the first states in the nation to pass comprehensive laws preventing utilities from passing on the costs of lobbying to […]

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