Climate and Energy Justice
Our current energy system is driving climate change, unaffordable, and life-threatening. Private utility companies use fossil fuels instead of clean energy to maximize their short-term profits. New Yorkers are over $700 million behind on their utility bills, and over 500,000 families are threatened with having their electricity shut-off each month.
We’re fighting back in statewide and local campaigns to transition to renewable energy, lower bills, end shut-offs, and bring our energy into democratic public ownership.
In New York State, people below 50% of the poverty line pay an average of 31% of their incomes to gas and electric utility bills, while affordable energy is 6% or less of household income. These high energy utility rates are combined with inadequate assistance programs and policies that allow the power of households that fall behind on payments to be shut off—even during the winter and/or even when children, elderly, seriously ill, or disabled people are in the home.
The utility affordability and shutoff crisis disproportionately affects working-class people of color. For example, national studies show that Black households get their power shut off over twice as frequently as white households. And undocumented immigrants frequently get their power shut off for not having a social security number despite these shutoffs being illegal discrimination under New York State law.