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The premier grassroots mobilizing and organizing team in the Midwest.

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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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Latest Updates

Access to utilities needed during the pandemic

May 13, 2020 3:13 PM

CLEVELAND -  A statewide coalition representing nearly a hundred thousand Ohioans released a new set of demands calling on Governor Mike DeWine and PUCO Chairman Sam Randazzo to ensure every Ohioan has access to basic water, power, and broadband internet during the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic fallout.

Gov. DeWine has taken much-needed steps to ensure that Ohioans have access to utilities throughout the state of emergency, but more must be done to guarantee continued access once the state of emergency is lifted and Ohioans try to recover from the current economic crisis. Although many regulated utilities have taken steps to reconnect households in response to the crisis, most of those steps have been voluntary and unenforceable. Most regulated utilities are only deferring reconnection fees, rather than waiving such penalties entirely.

This is a matter of public health: how can you wash your hands without water? This is a matter of public education: how can children be properly homeschooled without access to power and broadband? This is about economic recovery: how can Ohioans keep working from home without adequate utilities?

Without clear and humane statewide guidelines for all utilities, and without a plan to alleviate the financial burden facing households affected by the ongoing crisis, Ohioans face uncertainty about how they will maintain access to essential utility services. State regulators have asked investor-owned utilities to submit a plan to deal with the crisis, but there is no deadline or transparency regarding these submissions. In comparison, the Ohio EPA has ordered that all public water utilities stop shutoffs, reconnect all households and waive reconnection fees.

"Too many Ohio families are on the brink of a fiscal cliff," said Rachael Belz, Executive Director for Ohio Citizen Action, one of 52 co-sponsors of the effort. "As bills for electricity, water, gas, and internet come due, hundreds of thousands of Ohioians who have lost jobs and income due to the crisis are at risk for shutoffs. Without these basic services for all, our economic recovery will be uneven and ineffective. We need decisive action from state policy makers right now."

Public interest groups unite to form Duke Energy watchdog

May 07, 2020 12:19 PM

Public Interest Groups Unite To Form Duke Energy Watchdog

WASHINGTON -- "A coalition of public interest, social justice, watchdog and environmental groups are joining forces to hold Duke Energy, the largest investor-owned U.S. electric utility, accountable for its policies, which impact almost 8 million Americans in six states – and by extension, impede the nation’s progress toward a clean energy future.

The coalition will work to improve Duke Energy’s greenhouse gas emission reductions, transition from fossil fuels to renewables, ratepayer affordability and equity, coal ash cleanup and health impacts, influence spending and more. The announcement of the new coalition comes on the same day Duke Energy holds its annual shareholder meeting.

The Duke Energy Accountability Coalition is a project of Appalachian Voices, Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana, the Energy and Policy Institute, Environmental Working Group, Friends of the Earth, NC WARN, Ohio Citizen Action and the League of Women Voters of South Carolina. (For statements from some of the member organizations, see below.)

The coalition will spotlight work by environmental and consumer advocates, energy experts and frontline communities in states where Duke Energy operates as a monopoly utility. It will provide fact checks on key documents released by Duke, such as its federal Securities and Exchange Commission filings, annual Sustainability Reports and Integrated Resource Plans."

-- Alex Formuzis, Environmental Working Group

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Car Protest to Demand Utility Restoration

May 05, 2020 1:07 PM

CLEVELAND -- Wednesday, April 29 saw a well-attended, car-based protest that drew urgent attention to the need  for a utility shutoff moratorium during this pandemic.

How can you wash your hands if you don't have water? How can you homeschool your children if you don't have power and the internet?

Activists from all over the city gathered downtown for a short and socially-distant rally, followed by a protest caravan around the Cleveland Public Power and Cleveland Public Water buildings. More than 50 cars participated, honking horns and bearing signs with a clear message: utilities are a human right.

Ohio Citizen Action and its allies in the End Poverty Now Coalition got the message acrossed to Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson that now was a time for compassion and accountability. You can still sign the petition, urging the immediate reconnection of utilities for any residents currently without them, as well as the suspension of penalties and reconnection fees for the duration of Ohio state of emergency and stimulus efforts to drive our economic recovery. 

More photos from the event: