Faith & climate groups oppose PECO rate hike
PHILADELPHIA - On Tuesday, PECO reached a settlement on a customer rate hike. PECO originally petitioned for a controversial 3% rate increase, but after contentious hearings around the region this new settlement will hit consumers with an average 1% increase on their monthly bills. The settlement will now be reviewed before final approval by the PA Public Utilities Commission.
PECO is privately owned by Exelon, the country’s largest utility company based in Chicago.
The Power Local Green Jobs campaign, which is asking that PECO reach at least 20% local solar by 2025 prioritizing local jobs in high unemployment areas in southeast Pennsylvania, issued the following statement:
Lina Blount, Board Co-Chair of Earth Quaker Action Team:
“PECO already profits more than $1 million per day off its customers in the Philadelphia area, the poorest big city in the country. Any rate hike, even 1% on current energy bills, would only serve to further pad its Chicago-based shareholders’ pockets while sticking to the same dirty energy that’s polluting its ratepayers’ health and environment.”
“In the middle of this sweltering heat wave, we see that dirty-energy fueled climate change is already closing schools, increasing the need for health services, and skyrocketing household energy bills. PECO must take action for clean energy to stop worsening the heat.”
“Customers made it resoundingly clear at each public rate hearing that they need clean air and affordable electricity, not PECO’s half measures. PECO should stop dragging its feet and show that it truly has its ratepayers’ best interests at heart by making big strides towards clean solar energy and good jobs in the communities it serves. Does PECO represent its Philadelphia-area consumers or a far-off corporate parent?”
Rabbi Julie Greenberg, Co-Chair of POWER’s Climate Justice & Jobs team:
“PECO has more than doubled its rate of shutting off people’s power in the last ten years. As PECO leaves tens of thousands of families in the dark every year, this rate hike will only intensify the crisis facing our most vulnerable residents.”
“Across the region, vulnerable communities are also paving the way, showing that cheaper solar can lower customer bills and create family-sustaining jobs. PECO should follow their lead instead of doubling down on its current short-sighted energy policies.”
Power Local Green Jobs is a faith-based economic justice campaign led by Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT) and Philadelphians Organized to Witness Empower and 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.powerinterfaith.org and www.eqat.org.