Small businesses are closing up shop, unemployment rates are at an all time high and I’m buying tickets to virtual concerts in hopes of keeping my favorite music venues afloat. It’s no secret that we’re amid an economic recession, but which businesses are really struggling and what does it mean to be guaranteed a profit from the pockets of those that may not be able to keep a roof over their heads? Luckily, we had the perfect intern for that research question.
Customers still protected from Gas Plant rate hike
The Vision for Equitable Climate Action (VECA) was developed by Climate Action Network (USCAN) in May 2020. It was created over the course of a year, by a diverse team of 176 people from 106 organizations. The VECA platform draws attention not only to the urgency of the climate crisis, but also to the injustice created by climate change and the roadblocks preventing “effective responses” (p. 4). VECA puts forth policy solutions that take these factors into consideration so that we “act equitably and ambitiously to exceed the U.S. goals originally put forward in the Paris Climate Agreement” (p. 5).
When looking toward the future of climate change policy it can be helpful to reflect on the past. In 1999 AAE released The Louisiana Climate Report which reviewed evidence of Global Climate Change from the 1995 IPCC Report and identified five areas of risk for Louisiana - extreme weather, human health, agriculture, forestry, and coastal impacts. The report outlined and examined policy solutions and actions that could reduce or mitigate risks from Climate Change. While many of these solutions took a step in the right direction towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reports released more recently have raised the bar, highlighting problems with some of these ideas and suggesting better avenues to pursue.
Ongoing pandemic, economic collapse, lifting of eviction and utility shutoff moratoriums, ending of federal unemployment assistance, Black Lives Matter - my mind is spinning! There are literally fires to put out everywhere. But, simply putting them out is not going to solve the systematic problems that caused them. We need to dig deep into the unjust policies that got us here.
UPDATE: POSITION HAS BEEN FILLED
The Louisiana Public Service Commission (LPSC) finally made a decision regarding lifting the utility disconnect prohibition for LPSC jurisdictional customers. Here’s what you need to know.
We have been working hard to ensure protections in New Orleans (regulated by the NOLA City Council) and Louisiana (regulated by the LPSC). Here are all the updates since March!
City Council Puts Moratorium on Electricity Shutoffs Until July and Proposes $22 million Bill Assistance Program by Michael Isaac Stein
Councilwoman Helena Moreno at a December 2019 City Council meeting (Michael Isaac Stein/The Lens)
The New Orleans City Council voted on Thursday to prohibit Entergy New Orleans from disconnecting electricity services due to unpaid bills until July 1. The company had previously promised to suspend service disconnections until May 31. But Thursday’s resolution not only extends the moratorium, it changes it from an informal assurance to an enforceable regulation.
The resolution also sets up a process for Entergy New Orleans to start tracking expenses and lost revenues related to the coronavirus crisis. Utility regulators around the country have taken similar steps in anticipation that energy companies will be asking for bill hikes next year.
For women of color on Louisiana’s Gulf Coast, everyday environmental and climate activism is entangled with intimate lives.
Author Frances Roberts-Gregory explores how women of color protect the environment and "navigate complex and at times contradictory relationships" with oil, gas, and petrochemical industries. She highlights the work of Gulf Coast "water protectors,” who "fight oil pipelines and improper disposal of industrial waste even when their kin and loved ones receive paychecks from these same industries."
Roberts-Gregory also reflects on her own journey as a climate activist and helps us understand the tension between the needs of the workers in the oil and gas industry and our expectation of industry change.
Several safeguards have been put in place across the country to prevent utility disconnects for non-payment during the Covid-19 pandemic. The most up to date list can be found at the Energy & Policy Institute’s website. Although this covers most of Louisiana, at least for 30 days, there are a handful of municipal utility providers across the state that have not implemented these protections, and we are calling on the Governor to take action.
++ PLUS a June 2020 Update! ++
According to an opinion poll commissioned by the Alliance for Affordable Energy, a clear majority of New Orleans residents are supportive of a transition to 100% renewable energy and away from fossil fuels.
Exciting news for New Orleans Energy Efficiency! The City Council Utility Committee has approved robust and growing efficiency programs for the next three years. In December, Entergy New Orleans submitted its plan for Energy Smart to the NOLA City Council. The plan laid out two scenarios:
1) stick to the Council’s efficiency targets, set back in 2015
2) even MORE savings!
And the Council chose Scenario 2
City Council goes before state appeals court seeking to overturn ruling against Entergy plant by MICHAEL ISAAC STEIN
The New Orleans City Council went to state appeals court on Monday in an attempt to reverse a June ruling in Civil District Court that voided the 2018 vote approving Entergy New Orleans’ controversial power plant in eastern New Orleans.
Electric Companies Like Entergy Are Using Affiliate Transactions to Block Renewable Energy, Here’s How
Persistent outages plaguing Grand Gulf nuclear plant are adding millions to the bills of New Orleans customers
The cost of wind and solar continue to decline and are now at the point where they beat, or at least match, even the marginal costs of coal-fired generation and nuclear power, according to the 13th and latest edition of Lazard’s Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis, one of the most highly regarded assessments in the world.