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The premier grassroots mobilizing and organizing team in the Midwest.

Our Mission

Ohio Citizen Action organizes and mobilizes people to advocate for public interests. In person, by phone, and online, we engage people in actions that protect public health, improve environmental quality, and benefit consumers. Our campaigns connect Ohioans and build a movement to protect democracy and create a sustainable future.

The Premier Grassroots Mobilizing and Organizing Team in the Midwest
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Current Focus

Local communities leading the way to a clean future
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Ohio Consumers Power Alliance

Ohio Consumers Power Alliance

The megaphone for the voice of Ohio consumers

Latest Updates

The scandal of millions of Americans deprived of running water (Podcast)

Jul 02, 2020 2:16 PM

History | Cleveland Water Department

The Public Utilities Building, located at 1201 Lakeside Ave., opens, consolidating all Cleveland Water management and business functions into a single location. Photo from Cleveland Water

"Guardian US environmental justice reporter Nina Lakhani tells Anushka Asthana about her water crisis investigation, which looked into why running water is becoming unaffordable for millions of Americans across the US. Water bills weigh heavily on many Americans as utilities hike prices to pay for environmental clean-ups, infrastructure upgrades and climate emergency defences to deal with floods and droughts. Federal funding for America’s ageing water system has plummeted, and as a result a growing number of households are unable to afford to pay their bills.

Albert Pickett inherited water debts from his mother after she died. Pickett applied to get on to a repayment plan, but the water department refused as he didn’t have the money, several hundred dollars, required as a deposit. Cleveland Water didn’t inform Pickett, who survives on disability benefits, about his right to appeal – instead, they turned off the taps in 2013. 'Without water you can’t do anything. I lost my family, my wellbeing, my self-esteem. It was humiliating, like I was less than human,' he says."

Click here for 30 minute podcast

Read Albert Pickett's story here


Coronavirus is creating a crisis of energy insecurity

Jul 02, 2020 1:26 PM

Air conditioners in Brooklyn Heights. An estimated 65,000 people visit the emergency room each year due to acute heat illnesses; however, this summer could be comparatively severe. (Credit: Bonnie Natko/flickr))

"In addition, like COVID-19 itself, energy insecurity has disproportionately worsened for vulnerable populations. African American (16 percent) and Hispanic (19 percent) households were far more likely to report difficulty paying an energy bill in the last month compared to White respondents (9 percent).

The problem is also worse for households with young children, those with disabled members, and those who rely on an electronic medical device.

Respondents who power a medical device at home were twice as likely not to be able to pay an energy bill in the past month, three times as likely to receive a notice from their utility provider that their energy is in jeopardy of being disconnected, and more than four times as likely to have their service shut off.

These heightened levels of energy insecurity could spur a health crisis in low-income households by exposing at-risk populations to the summer heat while simultaneously hindering their ability to seek or afford medical care. While some policies have been implemented, the situation remains dire as several of these measures are temporary; however, there is a path forward for policymakers to protect vulnerable families by suspending all utility disconnections, forgiving late payment fees, and increasing funds for energy bill assistance throughout the hot summer months."

-- Michelle Graff and Trevor Memmott, Environmental Health News 

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Racial disparities persist in electric service. Is ‘willful blindness’ to blame?

Jul 02, 2020 12:48 PM

'With regard to disconnections, we adhere to the disconnection process defined by the Ohio laws and regulations, none of which are defined by race or ethnic group,' said Dayton Power & Light spokesperson Mary Ann Kabel.

The Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel does get aggregate information about complaints from the PUCO. However, a 2011 cutback in funding ended the counsel’s ability to run its own complaint hotline. And the PUCO’s system for cataloguing complaint actions doesn’t include a separate code for allegations of racism. That would make a search through hundreds of individual filings unwieldy at best and possibly not feasible.

'I’m not sitting here saying that our utility companies are consciously turning off minorities more than other customers or white folks,' said Dave Rinebolt, executive director and counsel at Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy. 'But until they know whether the impacts are disparate, we can’t really make that determination.'”

-- Kathiann Kowalski, Energy News Network

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