Letters are a first step in this unfolding effort to bring citizen participation, accountability and transparency to the Public Utility Commissions that accelerate or slow our pace toward a clean energy future.

Third Actors across the country flexed the power of the pen recently with thoughtful, compelling Letters to the Editor of local newspapers. Dozens of letters, some recently published or up for publication soon, captured the importance and urgency of our “Power Up Communities!” Campaign to democratize the nation’s energy system.

Mary Ann Holtz of Florida brought the urgency home, quoting a previous newspaper article: 

“Of the 20 counties in the United States that will see the largest increase in the number of days when the heat index will reach or exceed 100 degrees, 18 are in Florida.” And ending with a plea: “In the Sunshine State we really can shift to renewable energy. Let’s insist on it!”

The effects of our climate action neglect were shown by Janet Kossing of Illinois, speaking to a need as basic as breathing: 

“…we’ve had the new experience of unbreathable air–in large part from wildfire smoke and the climate emergency upon us here and now. As a resident of Australia in 2019, I encountered even worse, including vacationing families driven into the ocean to escape the flames…”

This especially hits the hearts of Americans everywhere, who watched the Native Hawaiians in Lahaina, Kīhei and Upcountry Maui dive into the ocean to escape the flames.

In her letter, Kay Reibold spoke directly to the North Carolina Utilities Commission: 

“We need your advocacy, a vision for a clean energy future, and action, NOT rubber stamping of Duke Energy’s destructive proposals and facilitating regulatory permits that are promoting dirty industries in the state.”

Andy Hinz of Maryland pointedly asked if the Governor’s latest appointment to the Public Service Commission would push his fellow commissioners in a clean direction: 

“Will he allow them to waste money on hydrogen produced by burning fracked methane? Will he allow our broken Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS—the rules by which Maryland incentivizes the transition to clean energy) to remain broken by incentivizing dirty energies like burning trash, methane from factory farms, and wood harvested from our forests? Will he allow Exelon and others to keep expanding our obsolete fracked methane infrastructure rather than begin shutting it down now in a well-managed phase-out?”

And Pete Ness from Pennsylvania reminds us of one of the main reasons we are undertaking this PUC campaign: 

“…we as citizens must use another kind of “solar power” — shining sunlight on important agency decisions that can otherwise be obscure, mysterious and hidden behind closed doors.”

Indeed, Pete, the more folks who understand the power of the PUC’s, the more we will be able to influence their decision-making.

This Letter to the Editor Action is ongoing, alongside many other ways to get involved in PUC advocacy – especially through Third Act’s Working Groups.

Submit a Letter to the Editor urging PUCs to shift to clean energy

Take a shot at reaching your community. Third Act’s Letter to the Editor Tool is easy. We share talking points for you to start from, but you have to edit it to your personal view; then the tool zips it off to your local papers. The more often you send letters, the likelier one will be chosen!

Act Now

Cathy Buckley

Cathy is a consultant for Third Act (cathy@thirdact.org), working with Jeremy Friedman on Power Up Communities. As staff for the NC Alliance to Protect Our People and the Places We Live (APPPL), Cathy concentrates on clean energy and environmental justice matters at the NC Utilities Commission and in eastern NC.A Climate Reality Leader since 2013, she founded the Raleigh chapter in 2020. Cathy received a Bachelor and a Master of Science from MIT.

Jeremy Friedman

Jeremy Friedman is Campaign Strategist for Third Act. Previous roles include founding NYU’s Office of Sustainability; establishing the Central Brooklyn Community Solar Campaign; and co-founding a grassroots criminal justice reform Political Action Committee which elected anti-carceral DAs.

Jeremy has worked hands-on as a massage therapist for as many years as they’ve been a community organizer, and has led workshops from Taipei to Black Rock City. A common thread throughout is the conviction that change is inevitable, generative, and always unfolding at the personal, relational scale of our physical bodies.