We gathered with several community members who are already CSC Member Owners and others who are interested in our co-op. We delved deeply into a conversation about tactics that investor-owned utilities (like FirstEnergy’s Illuminating Company) use to maximize their profits at their customers’ expense. Using our energy bills as examples, we discussed hidden fees embedded in the “distribution related component” and other charges we see on our bills. We found that the lack of transparency around what we’re actually paying for when we pay our utility bills – including investor-owned utilities’ political activities and continued investment in fossil fuel infrastructure – is another tactic utilities use to constrain our power, preventing us from being informed energy consumers.
Although privately owned utility companies possess disproportionate power in our current energy system, we shared some tools and tactics that community members can use to build our collective power. By building community-owned solar in our communities, we can generate community wealth while working against investor-owned utilities’ efforts to slow the transition to renewable energy – accelerating a Just Transition to a regenerative economy where community members can take ownership of their power!