Citizen Power has been working for over 15 years with governmental agencies, utilities, and other non-profits in order to promote the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency while ensuring that electricity is both reasonably priced and affordable for low-income populations. We believe that climate change is the main environmental challenge of our time and agree with the vast majority of climate scientists that the Earth is at a climatological tipping point. In April of 2014 the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued the report Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability which stated that we need to make significant inroads in greenhouse gas emissions in the next 15 years to avoid the most significant worldwide impacts. Part of Citizen Power’s goal is to reduce greenhouse gases, as well as other environmental impacts, through encouraging the use of renewal energy resources as well as energy efficiency and conservation. At the same time, we are very cognizant of the difficulty that many face in affording electricity. We consider access to a basic level of electricity and heat should not only be a human right, but is also instrumental in regional development and poverty reduction.
As both an environmental and consumer advocate, we can face certain conflicts. In many cases environmental and consumer goals are aligned. For instance, energy efficiency is both non-polluting and extremely inexpensive. However, sometimes the cleanest generation is not very affordable, while the cheapest energy solutions are not always green. We believe that because of our dual focus we are able to find solutions, that while not perfect from an environmental or consumer perspective, represent an evenhanded blend of these concerns. In fact, environmental and consumer interests are very much intertwined. Environmental energy solutions that ignore consumer impacts are difficult to implement, and once started may become unpopular enough to jeopardize their continued existence or the implementation of other environmental measures. On the other hand, energy solutions that focus solely on consumer impacts without considering environmental effects can end up costing more in the long run because of uncounted externalities. These usually disproportionately impact those in lower-income communities.
Citizen Power has participated as an advocate in legal proceedings before the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, the Public Utility Commission of Ohio, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and other agencies in order to promote the cleaner generation, smarter use, and fairer pricing of electricity. Our legal efforts have been focused on four main areas: increasing the use of renewable generation sources through the effective use of renewable portfolio standards, reducing the amount of electricity used through energy efficiency and conservation efforts, reducing the cost of electricity for the general public, and ensuring that low-income populations are provided with affordable access to electricity.