“How Utility Companies Use Charitable Giving To Influence Policy”

“The nation’s 10 largest utilities spent about $1 billion on charitable giving from 2013 to 2017, a move critics say is meant to shape policy decisions.”

“In June 2019, evangelical pastor Diedric Tupper passionately applauded a 15-year energy delivery plan from DTE Energy, Michigan’s largest utility, at a public meeting state regulators had convened.

Tupper’s short, dramatic speech was filled with utility industry talking points — renewable energy isn’t reliable or affordable for low-income residents, he claimed, and the plan’s focus on natural gas would ensure his largely Black congregation in western Michigan could keep the lights on.

“We don’t always see the light of the sun, nor do we always enjoy the coolness of wind, so there needs to be a diversity of energy in order for it to be reliable,” he said, asking the regulators to approve DTE’s plan.

Tupper’s plea shocked some of the approximately 200 Detroiters in attendance, who see DTE as a corporate villain whose poor service and high rates hit Michigan’s low-income residents the hardest ― including those Tupper claimed to represent.”

Tom Perkins reports for HuffPost July 6, 2020.