STATEMENT: Eversource becomes first utility to exit from gas industry’s largest trade association, citing decarbonization efforts in unprecedented move.

The decision comes amid the American Gas Association’s ongoing campaign against electrification.

Eversource Energy, an investor-owned utility that sells electricity and gas in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, has ended its membership in the American Gas Association in order to “redirect costs to more targeted associations and memberships with a focus on decarbonization to support our company-wide operations,” according to new reporting by WBUR.

To date, the Energy and Policy Institute is aware of no major investor-owned utility canceling their memberships with either of the two major utility trade associations, the American Gas Association and the Edison Electric Institute, in response to those organizations’ climate lobbying. 

David Pomerantz, executive director of the Energy and Policy Institute, issued the following statement in response to the news:

Eversource’s unprecedented exit reveals just how untenable AGA’s obstructionist, anti-electrification climate policies have become for utilities operating in any state that is intent on participating in the clean energy transition

Over the last few years, AGA has been a prominent player in efforts to undermine climate policy at the municipal, state, and federal levels of government. Utilities like Eversource can no longer engage with climate-conscious policymakers in states like Massachusetts and Connecticut while simultaneously directing funds to AGA’s obstructionist marketing and lobbying campaigns.

Every other utility that sells both gas and electricity should consider whether they can credibly tell policymakers, customers and investors that they are committed to climate action while they remain a member of AGA and a financial supporter of its anti-climate agenda.” 

Connecticut recently passed a law prohibiting utilities like Eversource from recovering the costs of their trade association dues from customers. Colorado, Maine and New York have passed similar bills. Massachusetts is considering policies that would prohibit utilities from charging customers for their trade association memberships. 

In recent years, the American Gas Association (AGA) has led the charge against building electrification policy by:

While it’s the first time an investor-owned utility has left one of the two major utility trade associations, EEI or AGA, utilities have canceled memberships in business trade associations over climate policy concerns. Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) left the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 2009 citing “fundamental differences” over climate change policy. 

America’s Power, formerly the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), a trade association promoting coal powered generation, lost all of its investor-owned utility members, with some leaving in response to its lobbying efforts against federal climate legislation.

Posted by Energy and Policy Institute