LANSING, Mich., Feb. 22, 2024 — Taking bold action to address the already high prices and sub-par service that Michiganders have been forced to accept from their state regulated utilities, state Rep. Dylan Wegela (D-Garden City) announced House Bills 5520 and 5521 — both aimed at curbing the political influence of Michigan’s state regulated energy and natural gas utilities.


“There is a reason Michiganders have been forced to deal with some of the worst energy services and pay the highest rates in the region: it’s because our state regulated utility corporations like DTE and Consumers have spent millions of dollars influencing elected officials instead of improving their services,” Wegela said.


HB 5521 prohibits an electric utility or natural gas utility that is regulated by the Michigan Public Service Commission from making donations or contributions to 501(c)4 (political nonprofits) or 527 (political action committees) organizations. HB 5520 prohibits 501(c)4 or 527 organizations affiliated with state regulated utilities from making donations or contributions to other 501(c)4 or 527 groups.


Wegela emphasized, “DTE and Consumers should spend their money modernizing their grid, trimming trees, burying lines and any other steps that provide a more reliable service exclusively — not trying to buy influence with politicians. This legislation will force utility companies to focus on improving their services instead of increasing their profits.”


The legislation is supported by the Taking Back Our Power (TBOP) coalition which consists of: Clean Water Action, Community Change Action, Detroit Action, Emergent Justice, Michigan League of Conservation Voters, Michigan People’s Campaign, MOSES Action and Voters Not Politicians. TBOP is hosting a rally to launch their campaign to restrict corporations from using their political dollars to drown out everyday Michigan voices on Thursday, Feb. 22 from 6-8 p.m. in Dearborn, MI.