Demand a Public Takeover of RG&E!

Metro Justice invites you to join the movement for a publicy owned and democratically governed utiility to replace Rochester Gas & Electric.

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 democratically governed utility.

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) developed and provided by RED, which will incorporate input from the appropriate City and County departments, as well as other relevant experts. A representative from RED should be included in the committee that puts the RFP out to tender.

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. Residents will no longer have to worry about not having electricity and heat in the winter because of unjust shut offs. 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 can be lowered, and the utility will have a mandate to avoid shutoffs.

  2. Accountable, democratic governance. Our utility will be democratically governed by an elected Board of Directors that represents a wide array of community interests. 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 by 2030. 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, 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, democratically-governed utility will prioritize residents and workers in our city. 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 publicly-owned, democratically-governed 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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