Demand a Public Takeover of RG&E!

Metro Justice invites you to join the movement for a publicy owned and locally controlled utiility to replace Rochester Gas & Electric in the City of Rochester and Monroe County area. 

Sign-on today to endorse Rochester for Energy Democracy, become a member of our coalition, and send your letter of endorsement to our City and County leadership! 


We Demand a Public Takeover of RG&E!

As partners of Metro Justice’s Rochester for Energy Democracy (RED) campaign, we call on Mayor Malik Evans, City Council, County Executive Adam Bello, and the Monroe County Legislature to support turning Rochester Gas & Electric (RG&E) into a publicly owned and locally controlled utility within the Monroe County area. 

We specifically urge the City and County leadership to jointly commission and fund an implementation study. The process should use the request-for-proposals (RFP) provided by RED and reviewed by the appropriate City and County departments. The process should also create an Advisory Committee that has representation from Metro Justice, labor, community stakeholders, and relevant experts, in order to ensure a comprehensive and credible study process that is transparent and accountable to the public.  

For decades, RG&E has exploited residents of Rochester with rate hikes, winter shut-offs, a disastrously maintained grid, and poor service. In addition to being unresponsive to the needs of city residents, RG&E has all but ignored the impending climate crisis. Nearly 91% of Upstate New York’s electricity generation has zero emissions. Yet, at a moment when we must act urgently to mitigate climate change -- a crisis that will disproportionately affect people of color and the poor -- RG&E is still using the rates we all pay to maintain gas infrastructure that uses a dangerous CO2-emitting energy source, the primary driver of climate change.

That is why we have joined Metro Justice’s Rochester for Energy Democracy campaign in calling for public and democratic ownership of our city’s grid. A public utility will be cheaper, safer, and in a better position to transition to renewable energy. Decisions about energy sources, rates, and investment in our energy infrastructure will be made by our community, not by unaccountable shareholders.  

Our coalition is fighting for a democratic public utility based on five principles of Energy Democracy:

  1. Affordability. Public utilities are not for profit, so energy can be affordable for all. Rates will be lowered, and we will have the opportunity to consider a progressive rate structure where rates are tied to energy use or income. 
  2. Accountable governance. While run by a value-aligned general management and its current employees, our utility will be locally governed by an elected Board of Directors that represents a wide array of community interests and technical expertise. This can include community representatives, representatives of organized labor, and climate experts, with additional mechanisms for input from rate-payers.
  3. Local economic benefit. Our utility will invest ratepayer dollars back into our community to fund energy efficiency and other initiatives that improve quality of life for our people.
  4. Green energy. Our utility will commit to an equitable and immediate transition to clean energy sources, and aim to be 100% carbon free as soon as possible. This includes a complete transition off of gas infrastructure, and prioritizing locally, publicly or cooperatively owned electric generation whenever possible to replace natural gas.
  5. Workers rights and a just transition for energy workers. Our utility will commit to a just transition for energy workers, retention of current RG&E employees and all current union contracts, local workforce development, and restoring good-paying jobs with benefits that have been lost to RG&E outsourcing. Policies regarding the workforce will be guided by recommendations from organized labor.

A publicly-owned, locally-governed utility will prioritize residents and workers in our region. It will recognize energy as a human right. It will put ratepayers and workers at the center of decision-making, and will mean more jobs for Rochesterians. It will power our homes and businesses at lower costs to consumers. It will reinvest revenue locally to improve the lives of Rochester residents by upgrading our infrastructure and enhancing public services. It will give us greater control over where our energy comes from, so we can better do our part to address the climate crisis. It is up to you to listen to this call from your community. It is on your shoulders to secure us a brighter, more renewable, and resilient future.  

A public utility is what is best for our community today, tomorrow, and for generations to come. It's time to make our energy infrastructure work for the people of Rochester.


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