Shut Offs and Climate Justice
Energy bills represent the second–highest housing cost, exceeded only by mortgage or rent, comprising up to 35% of income for very poor households. Since 2009, utility shutoffs have resulted in the deaths of at least 11 California residents—children and adults, all of them Latino or Black—due to fires caused by candles, extension cords, or carbon monoxide poisoning from portable heaters. Shutoffs in California have increased by over 70 percent in the last 6 years, plateauing at about 716,000 households experiencing shutoffs each year—this represents more than 2 million people, most of whom are children.
When people are faced with job loss, low wages and financial debts, they start looking for ways to save money. They try to cut back on their spending, make sure to turn off all the lights in the rooms not being used, and in many cases, let a few bills slide in the hopes of catching up on the payments later. Unfortunately, when customers fall behind on their utility bills, utility companies will shut them off. And if they don’t pay their utility bills, the bills will be sent to collection agencies. To make matters worse, people without power will resort to unsafe practices like using candles or running extension cords to neighbors’ homes.
Our Shut Offs and Climate Justice work is to stop policies that rip off our communities and win policies that save the Environment and money!
PolicyVoice grassroots leaders from the Central Valley, Inland Empire, Los Angeles, and Bay Area
Pictured: Luis Valentin and Pedro Espinoza (IDEPSCA,) Ana Palomares and Myra Diaz (Centro La Familia), Sally Alvarado and Monica Larios (Learning Resource Project), Janice Mathurin (West Fresno Family Resource Project), Karen Downard and Randal Curtis (West Angeles CDC), Abigail Medina and Minister L.B. Tatum (Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement), Mark Toney and Ana Montes (The Utility Reform Network), Ron San Miguel (Anew America) Priya Sawhney (Central City SRO Collaborative).