Rochester Gas and Electric has got to go. It’s really that simple. When it was a local company, it served the community relatively well, but now that it is owned by a Spanish conglomerate, it no longer serves our needs as it should.
We need to set up a publicly-owned energy company in the City of Rochester. There are over 2000 municipalities that have already done this and we should join that list. This is not going to happen overnight. It is going to take a lot of organizing and advocating to get this done, but if done right it will be a win-win-win situation.
Win #1: Our bills will be lower. Municipal energy companies do not have making the most profit as their primary focus. Fairport Electric has rates much lower than RG&E’s. This will also help businesses in the City as well. This would be a boon to businesses already in Rochester as well as those to start here in the future. It would also be an incentive for businesses to move here, replacing economy-stifling tax breaks. (See how our local economy is helped by stopping corporate welfare here.)
Win #2: It will help the City’s fiscal health. The money that people pay for their electric bills will go to the City of Rochester, not to a corporation in Spain. Money will stay in the local economy and help eliminate City budget gaps – within reason.
Win #3: A public energy company will give us more power in the fight against climate change and overall environmental safety. Natural gas is not clean, particularly in how it is extracted. Nuclear power is not safe, neither during the creation of electricity, nor in the storing of its waste. We need to focus more on solar, wind, and thermal energy. A public energy company can invest in City-owned renewable energy resources (see the upcoming environmental platform plank once posted). Yes, initially, the public utility will have to buy power from Ginna and the State Hydro-electro plant. But we can transition to renewables as we add to our portfolio of solar farms, wind turbines, and more.
We can even set up this municipal corporation to be run as a cooperative, like those in the Mondragon Cooperatives and from the beginning make sure there is a level of democracy and transparency as to how it conducts its business.
I will help lead the charge toward the people owning our means of energy production.