Climate & Energy Justice

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. 

WHY

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.

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As part of a coalition, we got the New York Attorney General to sue the Trump administration over its 2020 policy to stop enforcing Environmental Protection Agency regulations.
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Central Hudson proposed to increase the regressive flat fees that every customer pays each month. But as a result of our work, instead of increasing, Central Hudson’s flat fees are now decreasing by about 19% over three years.
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As a result of an investigation we won, Central Hudson made policy changes resulting in fewer people of color having their power shut off, fewer people being shut off during the hazardous winter months, and significantly fewer people having their power shut off each year.
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New York's utility regulator created a proposal to modify low-income energy assistance programs—without soliciting input from low-income people. We led a statewide campaign that resulted in the expansion of the Public Service Commission’s proposal by $69 million in funding and 550,000 eligible households.
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We defeated Central Hudson’s proposed 17% increase in the basic service charge, a regressive flat fee charged monthly no matter how much energy a customer uses.
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