PECO: Stop Putting Short-Term Profits over Our Future
The climate is changing, why isn’t PECO? Since 2015 activists in the Power Local Green Jobs (PLGJ) campaign have been pressing PECO to plan a transition away from energy generated by dangerous fossil fuels. Yet business-as-usual thinking continues to dominate the company's actions.
The Exelon-owned utility just revealed to both the state’s Public Utility Commission (PUC) and the public that it has no real plan to help build a more resilient, just, and sustainable economy in the Philadelphia metro region. PECO’s recent submission of a Default Service Program (DSP), which maps out how PECO plans to source its electricity for the next two to four years, shows that PECO has no plan to meet the challenges of our time. The company has failed yet again to envision how it can invest any of its hefty $460 million in profits from the region into local solar-energy projects. These projects would generate new employment opportunities to the underemployed communities in its territory. If the PUC approves PECO’s DSP as proposed this December, it would lock in a business-as-usual approach to sourcing through 2025.
Amidst the climate crisis—recall the unprecedented fires that ravaged California, Amazonia, and Australia over the past two years—PECO’s proposed DSP indicates that it lacks a plan for climate justice and long-term economic security for the people of this region. Such inaction amounts to a massive failure to protect public health and promote the long-term common good, a dereliction of civic duty at the most basic level.
The full cost of energy over time includes the mounting damages to public health due to carbon emissions and should be factored into PECO’s energy sourcing decisions. In light of this, the Power Local Green Jobs campaign is demanding that PECO create a plan to source 20% of its electricity from local solar projects in a way prioritizes community-owned solar and the creation of thousands of new jobs, then resubmit a DSP that reflects this commitment.
EQAT media spokesperson Dana Robinson made clear that PECO must take its DSP back to the drawing board: “PECO is on the wrong side of history. Its DSP ignores the increasing climate-related risks our region faces and makes no opportunities for potential green-jobs creation. In a city marred by one of the highest rates of concentrated poverty in the nation, this is not acceptable. Today we demand that PECO create a real plan for addressing climate change and redraft its DSP.”
In response to PECO’s shortcomings on solar and green jobs, EQAT Campaign Director Tab Skervin said, “Inaction in the face of climate emergency is irresponsible. PECO siphons away $460 million a year in profits, but instead it needs to prepare Philadelphia and its people for a livable future. Just as inaction during the pandemic we’re facing now puts our country’s most vulnerable citizens at even greater risk, PECO’s continued inaction will impose higher risks upon our children for many years to come.”
In the absence of PECO’s leadership, PLGJ members will be releasing a roadmap PECO could take to get to 20% local solar by 2025.
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.eqat.org and www.powerinterfaith.org.