From the utility-sparked deadly wildfires in Maui, Hawaii, and Paradise, California, to the winter freeze power outages in Texas, and from the political corruption of First Energy in Ohio and Florida Power & Light to the millions of utility shutoffs happening every year, we are witnessing an unjust utility system breaking down under the increasing pressures of economic extraction and climate disaster.
The utility system doesn’t have to operate this way. We believe a joyful, just, healthy, democratic, and resilient utility system is possible. Strategies to get there require a fundamental understanding of the utility history that led us to this point in time and the knowledge and skills of hundreds more activists who share the goals of utility justice in our lifetimes.
It is in this context that we release the People’s Utility Commons curriculum titled “How Did the Utilities End up Like This? What Are We Going to Do About It?” The curriculum is designed to support collective peer-to-peer learning about the past, present, and future of the utility system and build the people power of our movement.
We believe this curriculum provides a new addition to the utility justice and energy democracy landscape about the evolution of the utility regulatory system to date, what beliefs are embedded into the utility system we have inherited, and alternatives to the for-profit utility model that have existed and continue to be developed around the world.
This announcement marks the completion of our current goals for the People’s Utility Commons. The curriculum will continue to be available online at www.peoplesutility.org. We hope this resource supports your work to advance utility justice, a just transition, and universal, uninterrupted access to essential public goods!