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July 12, 2024

In the fight for utility and climate justice, public knowledge is power

Utility companies don’t want us to teach people how they operate. So that’s exactly what we did.

When they work well, our utilities exist in the background of our lives: they power our homes, cool us down when it’s hot, give us heat when it’s cold. But too often, they are sources of aggravation: the power goes off when it is dangerously hot or cold out, our bills skyrocket, our utility companies threaten to shut off our utilities due to inability to pay… the list goes on. We know that climate change raises those stakes even higher—and our utility companies themselves play a massive role in exacerbating the climate crisis. 

80% of electric utilities in the U.S. run on fossil fuels. Tackling utilities head on is integral to working towards a safer climate.

And yet the system is designed to make it difficult for us to fight back.

But there’s good news: we just need to equip people with the skills and information that utility and fossil fuel companies work so hard to keep from us. That’s why over the past two months, we hosted a public education series to dive deeper into how our utilities work and what tactics we can use to fight and restructure them. 

Hundreds of people joined to learn how to take on their utilities, from public utility commissions to legislation and corporate accountability.

So what’s next? We act.

Next month, together with local groups and affiliates across the country, we are taking to the streets all across the country to hold utility companies accountable for their role in the climate crisis.

Interested in joining us? Pledge your support for the week of action

If you did not get a chance to join us for our public education series, you haven’t missed out! You can watch the recordings (linked in the titles below).

Our education series focused on six topics and tactics:

  1. Legislative and Ballot Initiatives, featuring John Farrell, Institute for Local Self-Reliance; Lucy Hochshartner, Pine Tree Power; & Taylor Smith-Hams,
    1. Find out how different states rank when it comes to energy democracy and utility accountability
    2. Learn from Pine Tree Power, Maine’s campaign for the first statewide utility with a climate mandate  
    3. See how’s utility legislation toolkit can help you win your campaign 
  2.  Community Run Renewablesfeaturing Sachiko Graber, Cooperative Energy Futures; & Jonathan Walle, Cleveland Owns
    1. Learn how Ohio’s own community solar co-op is shifting the energy system towards energy democracy
    2. Dive deeper into how to change energy systems and drive profit back to communities
    3. See how’s Our Own Power toolkit can support your community-centered work
  3. Corporate Accountability and Finance, featuring Bill Regan, Movement Cooperative; Kim Fraczek and Michael Paulson, San Energy Project; & Rob Galbraith, Little Sis
    1. Learn how legislatures enable utilities to have monopolies, and how to campaign on rate cases
    2. Find out how to campaign for public utilities to have a non-profit model
    3. See what movies utilities and how to build your corporate campaign strategy
  4.  Public Utility Commissionsfeaturing Nancy LaPlaca, Third Act; Susan Miller, Earthjustice; & John Qua, Lead Locally
    1. Learn what Public Utility Commissions (PUCs) are and why they’re important sites of struggle
    2. Sift through different types of proceedings at PUCs and how to engage in them
    3. Unpack local and state utility elections and how to build an electoral utility strategy in your community 
  5.  Power Mapping and Campaign Research, featuring Lauren Parker, LittleSis
    1. Learn how power research and power mapping can strengthen our campaigns against powerful actors like utilities
  6. IRA Direct Pay, featuring Heejin Hahn, Congressional Progressive Caucus
    1. Learn how to get federal funds to support building renewable energy projects in your community

The post In the fight for utility and climate justice, public knowledge is power appeared first on 350.

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