Lobbying and Political Contributions
The electric utility industry is undergoing a fundamental transformation driven by a number of factors, including new regulations and public policies. For the benefit of all stakeholders, we actively participate in the political process and in lobbying activities at the national, state and local levels.
The investments needed to modernize the power grid are in the billions of dollars, and the stakes have never been higher. To understand the policies and regulations that could affect our business, we participate in a number of organizations, lobby on our customers’ behalf and contribute to political candidates.
Each year, AEP publicly discloses lobbying activities and political contributions. We also annually report on the portions of membership dues from organizations such as the Business Roundtable (BRT) and Edison Electric Institute (EEI) that go toward lobbying. We post our lobbying policy online and we have a process in place to review political contributions annually with AEP’s Board of Director’s Committee on Directors and Corporate Governance.
Among the organizations we are actively engaged with are the Business Roundtable, where our Chairman, President and CEO, Nick Akins, chairs the Energy and Environment Committee. We engage in these activities to stay current on issues, learn best practices and advocate on behalf of our customers, employees and shareholders.
We have been asked by stakeholders why we belong to some organizations whose positions may conflict with AEP’s. In general, we believe it is better to be at the table and engaged in the discussion whether we are in total agreement or not. When we disagree, we voice our concerns and work to change the position. Sometimes we prevail, and sometimes we do not, but we strive to reach an appropriate position, based on the facts available. In addition, many of our customers belong to these organizations, and this helps us better understand their concerns and needs.
We believe in transparency and active participation in public debate. Our experience is that open, candid discussion and a good-faith attempt to reach common ground is the best way to do business.