As the COVID-19 pandemic continues with no clear end in sight, we must fight to ensure access to water, power, and internet for all.
As summer begins, hotter days mean people who are unable to afford their power bills will be left without access to air conditioning, putting them at risk of heatstroke unless they leave their homes in search of cooler spaces, which in turn puts them at greater risk of coming into contact with someone who has COVID-19. Access to water, a basic human right even before this pandemic, still remains necessary to wash your hands and avoid spreading COVID-19. And as some schools make plans to teach some classes virtually this fall, we cannot allow students without access to the internet to fall behind.
We need protections for people who are struggling to pay their bills now. We need investments in affordable and efficient housing. And we need commitments to develop affordable, clean energy sources that better protect our public health.
Ohio Citizen Action, along with over 50 organizations representing nearly 100,000 Ohioans, is demanding that Governor Mike DeWine and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) guarantee access to utilities and affordable, clean energy for the length of this pandemic and beyond. You can read our letter to Gov. DeWine and PUCO Chairman Sam Randazzo here.
How you can help:
1. Sign the petition to support utility access for all during the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery period.
2. Please fill out and share this survey so we can gather more information about the experience and effects of utility disconnections in Ohio. There's nothing we can do to help people if we don't know enough about they're going through.
Although our current focus is on the statehouse and the PUCO, this campaign was inspired by the ongoing work of Clevelanders in the End Poverty Now coalition.
Ohio Citizen Action was proud to join End Poverty Now’s campaign to hold Cleveland Public Power (CPP) and Cleveland Water accountable and demand that the companies take a proactive role in restoring power and water to all households. Although CPP and Cleveland Water have promised to reconnect customers who call them, the burden is on the customer to learn that reconnection is an option and request it for themselves. Because of this, it is likely that many Clevelanders are still without power and water.
The coalition’s work has garnered attention from Cleveland media, and the first Cleveland car rally was held in early May, with about 70 people coming out to make their displeasure with our city utilities known.
We are continuing to support End Poverty Now’s work in Cleveland, and we will continue to hold both public and private utilities accountable until every Ohio household has access to water, power, and internet.