Jan. 17 Update: Without explanation, FERC removed the ruling on PJM’s political expenditures from its agenda.
Jan. 16, 2019
MEDIA ADVISORY: FERC on Thursday to Consider Public Citizen Complaint Against PJM Over Its Political Expenditures and Lack of Budget Transparency
PJM Made at Least $456,500 in Unlawful Political Contributions, Spent Millions on Lobbying
WHAT: On Thursday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will consider a complaint (PDF) and an addendum (PDF) filed last year by Public Citizen against PJM Interconnection, LLC – the country’s largest grid operator – urging the agency to investigate PJM’s use of ratepayer fees to make political contributions.
A Public Citizen investigation documented at least $456,500 in political contributions, paid for through customers’ utility bills, which PJM made to political action committees for the purpose of funding partisan electoral politics. The unlawful contributions went undetected for a decade because of significant lapses in PJM’s accountability and oversight. Despite having a $300 million annual budget funded through electric utility bills, PJM relies on volunteer stakeholders serving on its budget committee to independently monitor its spending. Furthermore, PJM’s budget meetings are closed to both the public and the press. Public Citizen’s investigation and subsequent FERC complaint showed the need for top-to-bottom reforms of PJM’s budget processes to protect consumers from abuses.
PJM claimed that the donations to the Democratic Governors Association and the Republican Governors Association were membership fees necessary for the company to obtain nonpublic and preferential access to governors and their staff, but Public Citizen rejects the use of ratepayer money for such “pay-to-play” political access.
PJM’s operations are funded through a federal electricity rate that 65 million Americans pay through their monthly utility bills in the 13 states where PJM operates. Those states are Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.
WHEN: 10 a.m. EST Thursday, Jan. 17
WHERE: Room 2C, 888 First St. NE, Washington, D.C.
Watch the meeting online.