The Consumer Energy Alliance, a front group for oil and gas interests and utilities including Dominion Energy Inc, has released a poll which it claims shows support for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a gas pipeline co-owned by Dominion.

The poll claims to show that a majority of voters in North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia support the pipeline. CEA’s press release does not disclose the fact that CEA has received funding from Dominion Energy and other companies with a financial interest in seeing the Atlantic Coast Pipeline go forward.

Dominion paid CEA $8,500 in 2015, the most recent year during which it reported its political expenditures, which it started disclosing to appease shareholder concerns about the company’s political spending.

Dominion gave $8,500 to the Consumer Energy Alliance in 2015.

Dominion gave $8,500 to the Consumer Energy Alliance in 2015.

An archived version of CEA’s web page from 2016 lists Dominion Energy as a member. It also lists Piedmont Natural Gas – another operator of the pipeline, now owned by Duke Energy – as well as a host of other natural gas and utility interests. CEA has deleted that page, apparently since the Energy and Policy Institute drew attention to CEA’s members list in September 2016.

CEA has a history of fraudulently representing public support for its clients’ energy projects. CEA sent 347 letters to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) supportive of a pipeline proposed by Nexus Gas Transmission, using the names of local residents, including an Ohio man who has been dead since 1998, according to a group of Ohio property owners who asked the postal inspection service and FERC to conduct a criminal review of CEA in September 2016.

In 2014, Consumer Energy Alliance was caught submitting a fraudulent petition which attacked net metering and defended utility companies’ fixed-rate increase proposals in Wisconsin. CEA submitted names of 2,500 state residents that “supported” the utilities’ proposals. It was revealed that certain people on the CEA petition were in fact against the proposal. The PSC then dismissed the petition saying it would not be included in the record.

Posted by David Pomerantz

David Pomerantz is the Executive Director of the Energy and Policy Institute.

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