Quaker Ultimatum to PECO: It's time to invest in solar jobs
February 17, 2016 — After six months of asking PECO to buy solar energy from here in Philly, Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT) delivered an ultimatum to the utility's corporate headquarters. This spring, PECO must choose where to purchase its 2016 required solar increase. If it does not choose North Philadelphia, bringing solar jobs to a high-unemployment community, EQAT will blow the whistle on PECO with non-violent direct action, exposing the fact that it is not the community leader it claims to be.
EQAT sent certified letters to PECO CEO Craig Adams, senior executives of PECO, and board members of PECO’s parent company Exelon, specifying a deadline of May 2, 2016 for PECO to announce a plan to buy its solar increase from North Philadelphia.
Eileen Flanagan, EQAT board chair who traveled to PECO’s Market Street headquarters to deliver the ultimatum in person, explained, “Even Quakers have limited patience. Right now PECO could be sparking job growth in Philadelphia.”
The ultimatum followed six EQAT demonstrations at PECO headquarters to rally for solar job creation, and two meetings with PECO representatives. EQAT promises that if PECO refuses to buy solar energy locally, they will embark on a series of escalating actions across the city.
PECO is required to increase its energy from solar sources. In 2016 solar will increase by a small step of 0.1% of its total energy. It is legally required to disclose its solar energy sources to the Public Utilities Commission on May 31 — but few details reach the public.
Eileen Flanagan continued, “PECO could pave the way to a more sustainable future, one that offers cleaner air and safer water for our citizens. And at the same time it could immediately bring the good-paying, green jobs the city desperately needs.”
PECO’s increase of solar energy for 2016 alone would produce at least 72 jobs, according to calculations from Mayor Kenney's 21st Century Transportation and Environment For Philadelphia.
Earth Quaker Action Team includes Quakers and people of diverse beliefs using nonviolent direct action to build a just and sustainable economy. EQAT (pronounced “equate”) won its first campaign in 2015, forcing PNC Bank to halt millions of dollars of financing to companies engaged in mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia. Following that success, EQAT’s new campaign is pressuring local utility PECO to Power Local Green Jobs through solar expansion, particularly in North Philadelphia.