Energy Fairness is a front group that advocates for policy positions of fossil fuel and utility companies. Energy Fairness was incorporated as the Partnership for Affordable Clean Energy (PACE) by William D. Lineberry, an attorney with the Birmingham, Alabama office of Balch & Bingham, a firm that lobbies on behalf of Southern Company and represents its Alabama Power subsidiary before the Alabama Public Service Commission.
According to the resume of a former consultant for Energy Fairness, the group works on behalf of regulated utilities, with a recent focus on Florida. The group defended Florida utilities, such as Florida Power & Light and Duke Energy, against an “energy choice” ballot initiative that would have deregulated the power supply in the state. Energy Fairness is responsible for an attack on net metering in Florida, contributed more than $300,000 to a deceptive ballot initiative to stymie distributed solar in Florida, and fought against EPA’s Clean Power Plan.
Energy Fairness’ early funding came from Alabama Power-connected dark money groups, Partnership for Alabama Leadership and Vote Alabama. Both groups are connected to Southern Company’s Alabama Power through Matrix LLC, an opposition research and lobbying firm led by Joseph (Joe) W. Perkins, that has provided political consulting services to Alabama Power for decades.
The head of the Partnership for Alabama Leadership, Mike Fields, was retained as a consultant for Alabama Power, which paid Fields between $10,000 and $50,000 annually for several years.
Matrix LLC, the opposition firm, paid Energy Fairness Director Lance Brown’s salary in 2009 and 2010 while he was already serving in his role at Energy Fairness, then known as PACE.
Matrix LLC developed the website of another utility-connected front group, JobKeeper Alliance, which has a history of attacking individuals and organizations that criticize utilities and fossil fuel companies. Energy Fairness and JobKeeper Alliance have identically styled websites.
Energy Fairness was listed as an “official partner” (and is now listed as a member) of the Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA), a front group designed to “out flank” opponents for some of the country’s largest fossil fuel corporations and trade associations. CEA has repeatedly sent fraudulent letters to public officials, including in Wisconsin, Ohio, and South Carolina, and has claimed to be “pro-solar” but backed an anti-rooftop solar ballot initiative in Florida.
In addition to CEA, Energy Fairness used to list fossil fuel and utility interests as official partners, including:
- Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives
- Empower Consumers
- Tennessee Mining Association
- The National Federation of Independent Business
- IBEW System Council U-19, which represented 3,000 Alabama Power employees and is one of the largest member unions of the Alabama AFL-CIO, another Energy Fairness partner.
- Working People for Fair Energy, a defunct front group that fought EPA coal ash regulations under the guise of environmental justice.
Harry Alford, the President and CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce and a long-time advocate for the fossil fuel and utility industries, is a board member of Energy Fairness. Alford has been an outspoken supporter of “clean coal” and was a former board member of the US Chamber of Commerce, which has generally represented fossil fuel and utility interests. The National Black Chamber of Commerce has financial ties to fossil fuel companies like Exxon and has received funding from the Edison Electric Institute, the trade association for investor-owned utilities.