Kingston, NY – The Office of Assemblymember Sarahana Shrestha, who represents 14 municipalities in the Mid-Hudson Valley, will be holding seven town halls across the district on the topic of Energy Democracy. Each town hall will include a presentation and discussion on why corporate utilities run our energy system, how we can get involved in stopping the Central Hudson rate increases, examples of cases where people have defeated corporate utilities, and ways we can come together to democratize our energy system.
The town halls are scheduled as follows and RSVP is required.
Sept 19, Tue, 6:30, at the Rhinebeck Town Hall
Sept 23, Sat, 2PM at the Kingston Library
Sept 26, Tue, 6:30PM at SUNY New Paltz
Oct 3, Tue, 6:30PM at the Saugerties Senior Center
Oct 5, Thu, 6:30PM at the Woodstock Community Center
Oct 19, Thu, 6:30PM at the Olive Free Library
Oct 21, Sat, 2PM at the Esopus Town Hall
RSVPs can be submitted by visiting https://bit.ly/ad103energy
“We are by no means alone in being fed up with our corporate energy utility,” said Shrestha, “Downstate, Con Edison just won a rate increase that’s going to be an average of $64 more per bill. So we need to make sure that our constituents are made aware of the ways in which corporate utilities are set up to exploit ratepayers, and the ways in which we can oppose the Central Hudson rate hikes.
We should also feel empowered by recognizing that this is a bigger fight that people all over the world are involved in. From Maine to Rochester, people are organizing at the grassroots level to beat their corporate utilities. And whether it's a small town by the Adirondacks or faraway France, people have successfully come together to beat corporate utilities before.
The conflict between people and profits in our energy system is not new. At the dawn of New York's hydropower, then-Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt sought to curb the power of hydro barons with Public Power, and in the 19th century, Nikola Tesla – who helped design the modern alternating current electricity supply system – dreamed of clean energy that would be available for free to everyone.
Today, not only do we pay for energy, we pay for dirty energy and we pay for corporate monopolies to make guaranteed profits while delivering this energy to us! There is such a thing as a perverse incentive for these corporations to make money from ratepayers while building out an infrastructure that harms us. A rate case like the one Central Hudson is about to have will illuminate many of these problems, and we need to get as many people involved as possible, because these are big fights that require commitment and collective action.
I know that the Hudson Valley is more than ready to do its part in building a future of a democratized energy system, and our office will do its part in providing the information and tools people need to be able to do so.”Additionally, the office will also be hosting an information session on home energy-efficiency and state programs that exist to help with such upgrades. This session will be held at the Rondout Municipal Center in Cottekill, on September 7 at 7pm, in partnership with the Cornell Cooperative Extension. The event requires an RSVP, which can be submitted at https://actionnetwork.org/events/clean-energy-info-session/