John Howat, John T. Colgan, Wendy Gerlitz, Melanie Santiago-Mosier and Karl R. Rábago

Reversing Energy System Inequity

Families in America with the least means pay disproportionately more for their electricity, sometimes lacking basic access to service altogether. It’s a fundamental inequity of our current energy landscape, and one that can lead to dangerous repercussions. As technology, economics, public appetite and policy steadily drive the transition to clean energy, there are frequent decisions to be made at utilities commissions and other venues about how to implement, facilitate and accelerate the needed change. This paper highlights three foundational keys for getting decisions right for residential customers with the least means: 1) DATA: Collection and distribution of comprehensive residential customer data, broken out for low- and moderate-income (LMI) and vulnerable ratepayers. 2) PROCESS: An inclusive regulatory process that formally links identification of equity impacts with consideration and adoption of measures to address them. 3) EDUCATION: Broad familiarity with the full range of programs and best practice protections to address economic inequities for low-income consumers.

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