Activists Arrested for Demanding Climate Disaster Preparation from PECO
PHOENIXVILLE, PA — On Wednesday, December 11, four EQAT activists were arrested for blocking traffic at a PECO service center in Phoenixville, PA. The activists were joined by over a dozen ratepayers, led by local climate justice organization Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT). The concerned ratepayers say that even though utility provider PECO plays a key role in disaster preparedness and mitigation, it has refused to prepare for climate crisis. They asserted that PECO should aggressively respond to climate change — a growing cause of weather-related disasters that impact the region — through local renewable energy sourcing.
“Taking climate change seriously and switching to greener and more just energy sources, such as local solar, would not only create jobs and boost investment — it’s the only way to prevent future weather-related disasters that harm the power grid and its reliability,” says Dana Robinson, an EQAT volunteer and Delaware County resident. “The question is simple: Climate is changing. Why isn’t PECO?”
Wednesday’s blockade was one of three simultaneous actions happening at PECO service centers across Southeastern Pennsylvania. Over 50 ratepayers in Phoenixville, Warminster, and Coatesville interrupted PECO’s business as usual to call attention to the company’s refusal to respond to climate change. Each location included local speakers who have been affected by PECO’s negligence, and some participants blocking traffic to underscore both the urgency of the climate crisis and the necessity for PECO to locally invest in green jobs and solar projects.
For the past four years, the Power Local Green Jobs campaign, led by interfaith groups EQAT and Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower & Rebuild (POWER), has been pressuring PECO to make significant investments toward a just, solar transition for Southeastern Pennsylvania. Sourcing at least 20% of its electricity from local solar projects and prioritizing community-ownership would benefit residents in the region and spur thousands of green jobs—but PECO refuses to present a plan despite claims of being a green leader.
"PECO sends over $1million per day in profits to its Chicago-based parent corporation, Exelon. Even though PECO has had decades to make the investments necessary to prepare for climate crisis, it continues to cash in on our future. That's why we're demanding that PECO actually prepare our communities for climate change by investing in a justice-centered energy transition, local solar projects, and local green jobs,” said Tab Skervin, the Campaign Direct of EQAT. “PECO’s unwillingness to plan for our shared future is unacceptable. As long as PECO executives ignore the pressing dangers that climate change poses to people’s lives, we will continue to hold them accountable for their hypocrisy and inaction.”
Power Local Green Jobs is a faith-based economic justice campaign led by Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT) and Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower & Rebuild (POWER). Begun in 2015, the campaign uses nonviolent direct action to pressure PECO, the largest utility in PA, to spur job growth through solar expansion in areas with high unemployment. Learn more at www.eqat.org and www.powerinterfaith.org.