Our utility system is set up to prioritize making money for a small number of wealthy people over us, our homes, our health, and our well-being. Join Alliance for a Green Economy and other members of the New York Energy Democracy Alliance at 6PM on April 8 to learn how we can fight back against the system and demand debt cancellation, energy efficiency, and public power!
We will learn more about the struggle for energy democracy across New York and talk through our plan to win each of these three demands: Utility Debt Cancellation, Energy Efficiency Equity and Jobs, and Public Power. Together! Please RSVP here, and share this invitation with your network.
Utility Debt Cancellation: Across New York, the COVID-19 pandemic has left many without income and without any means to pay their bills. The average New Yorker who is behind on utility payments now has over $1,000 in energy debt. Electricity and heat shutoffs slow our recovery and put the most vulnerable New Yorkers at risk after the utility shut off moratorium is lifted. This is why the Energy Democracy Alliance is fighting for full debt forgiveness. During an emergency, it must be the shareholders, not everyday people, who pay for energy relief.
However, a one-time cancellation of debt still leaves New Yorkers paying exorbitantly high energy bills. Many New Yorkers are paying way too much for utilities because housing is not efficient or healthy. That’s why we are fighting alongside WE ACT for Environmental Justice for legislation that addresses the high cost of energy bills in New York by weatherizing homes and creating energy efficiency jobs in the state’s most vulnerable communities. And improving the energy efficiency of our buildings reduces the energy we use, in turn reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and nuclear energy.
The Energy Efficiency Equity and Jobs Act: This bill will require utilities to ensure that low income communities of color receive an equitable share of energy efficiency funding and jobs. The bill, which has already passed the NYS Senate, will require energy efficiency retrofits be deployed to low-income communities and communities of color. It will require the state to allocate worker training funds for energy efficiency in these communities statewide, and require the state energy agency to publicly track actual benefits of energy efficiency retrofit work. The bill also addresses some significant barriers to energy efficiency by opening up energy efficiency funding to remove lead, mold, and asbestos as part of an energy efficiency retrofit.
Finally, we know that we can’t have an equitable, accountable, renewable energy system unless we fundamentally change the ownership structure of the system and make electricity and heat public goods. This is why the Energy Democracy Alliance is also fighting for public power.
Public Power: This year we are fighting for two public power bills. The New York Build Public Renewables Act would expand the ability of the New York Power Authority to expand publicly owned, utility-scale renewable energy generation across the state. The New York Utility Democracy Act would push private companies out of the distribution grid and start the process of converting the state’s distribution grid to public ownership. If you’re interested in going in-depth about Public Power right away, there’s a statewide orientation today (Friday, April 2) at 5pm.
The Energy Democracy in Action event on Thursday, April 8 will be a great opportunity for you and your friends to get involved in the fight for energy democracy across the state. By taking action together, alongside New Yorkers from all over the state, we can win every one of these demands!
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I hope you’ll join us on the 8th! RSVP here.