The Electric Markets Research Foundation, or EMRF, is a front group for electric utilities. It has commissioned papers supporting utilities’ positions on issues like net metering and the need to extend the lifetimes of non-competitive coal and nuclear plants, and has distributed them to state utility commissioners at NARUC events.
EMRF is a 501(c)(3). According to the group’s 990 IRS form, EMRF’s president through 2015 was Bruce Edelston. Edelston has been the Vice President of Energy Policy at Southern Co. since March 2016, according to his LinkedIn account.
Previously, Edelston ran a consulting practice called the Energy Policy Group from June 2008 to February 2016. Energy Policy Group referred to itself as “an economics and public policy consulting firm serving the energy business” as seen in this op-ed decrying FERC’s Order 1000.
EMRF paid Edelston $12,000 in 2015, noting in its 990 that The Energy Policy Group, LLC provided it with professional management services and that “EMRF delegates control over its management duties to Energy Policy Group, LLC.”
Previously to forming the Energy Policy Group, Edelston had worked for Georgia Power and the Edison Electric Institute from 1990 to 2008.
EMRF received $130,000 in grants in 2015, according to the 990 form, though it is unclear who provided the funding, and the organization does not say on its website.
EMRF Board Chairman is a lobbyist for Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Southern Co.
Aside from delegating control to Edelston and his consulting shop in 2015, EMRF says on its website that it is governed by an “independent board.” That board includes:
- W. John Moore, who works in public relations for the Hawthorn Group, where he “has represented roughly a dozen energy firms across the industry spectrum, including several of the nation’s largest utilities.” Moore is listed as the president of EMRF on its website.
- Mark Menezes was listed as the board chair of EMRF as of 2016. He is currently Vice President of Federal Relations for Berkshire Hathaway Energy. President Trump recently announced that he is appointing him to be Under Secretary of the Department of Energy. Previously, Menezes was a partner at the law firm Hunton & Williams, home to the Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG), the main vehicle for suing and challenging EPA clean air regulations. Hunton & Williams was paid $7.7 million by the Edison Electric Institute in 2015 for UARG’s work. Before working at Hunton, he previously worked in government, and before that, he was Associate General Counsel for American Electric Power.
- As a lobbyist for Hunton & Williams, Menezes’ has represented Southern Co. and Berkshire Hathaway Energy Co. since 2012, and AEP, Duke Energy, and Entergy prior to that. In 2016 alone, Southern Co. employed Menezes and his firm to lobby Congress on a host of environmental regulations at an expense of $160,000, according to the Senate Office of Public Records. Berkshire Hathaway Energy paid $437,000 for Menezes and the company’s in-house lobbyist to lobby Congress during the first three-quarters of 2016.