The Michigan League of Conservation Voters says Battle Creek Democratic State Representative Jim Haadsma is being targeted by digital advertising by the state's major utilities.  But the league says it’s a shady process, involving front groups that don’t openly say they are connected with the utility companies.

The League says Representative Haadsma and several other Democratic lawmakers from around the state are being targeted by the digital ads opposing legislation that would allow for expanded use of rooftop solar systems by residential homeowners.

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A media release from the League of Conservation Voters points to the groups, Alliance for Michigan Power and Citizens Energizing Michigan’s Economy, to really be shadow organizations for DTE Energy and Consumers Energy. Bob Allison is the Deputy Director of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. He says the proposed legislation is worthy of approval. “It’s unfortunate, but not surprising that the same big utility companies that raise rates for customers every chance they get are using front groups to bash good legislation that would actually help customers lower their energy bills by expanding access to rooftop solar. Michigan should lift the arbitrary cap on rooftop solar so our state’s clean energy sector can grow jobs and curb dangerous pollution to better protect our Great Lakes and improve public health.”

The advertising analysis from the Energy and Policy Institute shows the ads which appear mainly on Facebook, are targeting four other Democratic state lawmakers, in addition to Battle Creek’s Jim Haadsma. They are Ranjeev Puri, John Cherry, Donna Lasinski, and Mari Manoogian.

Vote Solar Midwest Director John Delurey claims the front group’s approach is wrong and should not be accepted by voters. “Michigan’s utilities are raising rates year after year and restricting access to rooftop solar for Michigan families and businesses. They are hesitant to be seen directly influencing the legislators that make the energy rules and the regulators that implement them, so they hide behind groups like the Alliance for Michigan Power and Citizens Energizing Michigan’s Economy.”

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