Utility interests poured $2.7 million into Ohio politics in 2005-2006

"As I campaigned across Ohio . . . I talked about what I consider the kitchen-table issues, or the bread-and-butter issues."

-- Governor Ted Strickland, speech, Akron Press Club, January 18, 2007.

No real kitchen table is complete without a pile of utility bills. In the average Ohio household with basic service, the monthly electric bill is $78.14, the gas bill is $114.53, and the telephone bill is $22.80, for a total of $215.39, according to the November 2006 Ohio Utility Rate Survey.

The numbers on these bills are determined by state law and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. When a governor, a legislator, or a commissioner is under the influence of utilities, everyday Ohioans can get fleeced. That's why utilities spend a lot of money to buy influence.

Utility contributions to Ohio candidates, political committees and ballot issue campaigns, 2005-2006

Utility sector
Electric utilities
Natural gas







Not every utility-sector contributor is directly regulated by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. Overwhelmingly, however, contributions come from regulated enterprises or those with a big financial stake in PUCO regulatory decisions.

For the purposes of the Rate Survey --

  • The typical residential utility customer uses 750 KWH of electricity, 10 MCF of natural gas, and flat-rate phone.
  • The typical commercial customer (300,000 KWH, 46 MCF, and business rate phone) pays a combined $28,869.59 in utility bills each month.
  • The typical industrial customer (6 million KWH, 350 MCF, business rate phone) pays a combined $507,514.32 in utility bills each month.

The source for all contribution figures is the National Institute for Money in State Politics. Row identifications above correspond to the Institute categories as follows:

  • Telecommunications: Telecom services and equipment, Cable TV, and Telephone utilities categories in the Communications and electronic sector.
  • Electric utilities: Electric utilities category in the Energy and Natural Resources sector.
  • Mining: Mining category in the Energy and Natural Resources sector.