Updated: Dec 25, 2022
On the morning of December 6, 2022, over 40 residents from Milwaukee took a bus trip to Madison for a workshop hosted by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission. The purpose of this gathering was to discuss ways in which low-income households could get assistance with paying their bills and tackle other issues related to energy burden.
The workshop began with an overview of WE Energies’ customer assistance programs, followed by an open dialogue between members of the PSC and attendees. During this discussion, participants raised questions about why certain people were not being considered eligible for relief under these programs, such as those who don’t qualify because of their income level. It was also pointed out that WE Energies appears to be unfairly redistributing arrears among its customers, resulting in some unsuspecting individuals bearing the brunt of their costs.
While no concrete solutions were developed during the meeting, it shone light on how underserved communities are often disproportionately affected by energy burden and how companies like WE Energies may be capitalizing off of these disparities for their own financial gain. Moving forward, it has been suggested that WE Energies should implement peak rates for all customers, develop solar and windmill programs in urban areas, invest in weatherization initiatives that reduce carbon footprint pollution, and make Metrics more equitable by revising income levels eligibility criteria.
Furthermore, the success of such an event would not have been possible without those who dedicated time and effort towards making it happen – from organizers sending emails to sign up participants to attendees speaking out against injustices they face – Milwaukee’s residents proved true resilience in the face of adversity while challenging us all to do better as we continue advocating for equitable access to safe and affordable energy services.
The success of this event has demonstrated that when residents come together and speak out, their voices will be heard. Going forward, it is our collective responsibility to continue advocating for equitable access to safe and affordable energy services in Milwaukee. We must call on WE Energies to implement peak rates for all customers, develop solar and windmill programs in urban areas, invest in weatherization initiatives that reduce carbon footprint pollution, and revise income levels eligibility criteria for Metrics. Let us join forces as we fight against injustices inflicted upon underserved communities – because united we stand strong! Blog post Blog based on resident feedback emails: Geneva Jones, Carolyn Stevens, Trasus Wright, Katherine Boling