Section 33A. No gas or electric company regulated by the department under this chapter may recover from any ratepayer of such company any direct or indirect expenditure by such company for promotional or political advertising as defined in this section.
For the purposes of this section, the following words and phrases shall have the following meanings:—
“Advertising”, the commercial use by a utility of any media, including newspaper, printed matter, radio, and television, in order to transmit a message to a substantial number of members of the public or to such utility’s consumers.
“Political advertising”, any advertising for the purpose of influencing public opinion with respect to legislative, administrative, or electoral matters, or with respect to any controversial issue of public importance.
“Promotional advertising”, any advertising for the purpose of encouraging any person to select or use the service or additional service of a utility regulated by the department, or the selection or installation of any appliance or equipment designed to use such utility’s service.
For the purposes of this section, the terms “political advertising” and “promotional advertising” shall not include advertising which informs consumers of any utility on how they can conserve energy, reduce peak demand for energy, or other services, or otherwise use the services of any utility in a cost-efficient manner; is required by federal or state laws or regulations; informs consumers regarding service interruptions, safety measures, or emergency conditions; concerns employment opportunities with a utility; or relates to any explanation or justification of existing or proposed rate schedules, or notification of hearings thereon which informs consumers of and stimulates the use of products or services which are subject to direct competition from products or services of entities not regulated by the department or any other government agency.