Power Up Communities!

When we bring citizen participation, accountability and transparency to the institutions, government and business decisions that shape our energy grid, not only does that accelerate the transition to protect the climate—it safeguards democracy as well.

Leading experts suggest that the best way to combat authoritarianism is through a reinvestment in the sometimes-humble grassroots work of community organizing. By making the regulatory process more transparent and responsive, Third Actors will help catalyze a just transition toward a participatory democracy and clean energy economy that nurtures life now and into the future.

US policy does not yet reflect the scientific consensus about the necessary rapid timeline for economy-wide reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, especially not in states that lack strong leadership or will to align with federal climate progress. With recent passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), a newly-Republican House and the Supreme Court hamstringing the EPA’s authority to regulate the climate, the fight for a livable future shifts to these states, and to non-legislative strategies for confronting this global challenge.

Third Act’s signature effort to engage this PUC work is Power Up Communities! — the first coordinated nationwide initiative to organize direct citizen advocacy across state-level PUCs in the United States.

At this intersection of Third Act’s key issues of climate and democracy are Public Utility Commissions (“PUCs”): appointed or elected regulatory bodies with broad and far- reaching authority to execute energy policy distinct from legislatures, governors or federal oversight. PUCs regulate monopoly power utilities, set rates for consumers, approve or deny new power plants, define state climate action plans, and enforce environmental justice – and in many states they’ve operated in obscurity, largely behind closed doors.

Third Act is helping to organize more than a dozen partners for a collaborative strategy that leverages the current moment to reshape climate & energy policy and to democratize our energy economy. Beyond this initiative, Third Act’s work extends locally to advocate for sound state clean energy and climate policy, and to uplift and extend recent federal climate protection efforts under the IRA. 

Blogs for this campaign

Sunlight Is the Best Disinfectant: Introducing a New Series on the Hidden World of Utilities

April 29, 2024

How to Transform Public Utility Commissions

June 21, 2023

Ways To Get Involved

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Take action

You have the power to be a catalyst for change. We organize different actions, online and in-person. One click can make a difference!

Find a Working Group

Working Groups are volunteer run groups organized by affinity or by geographic location. We encourage these Working Groups to carry out organizing, communication and campaigns.

Attend an event

We host workshops, community calls, and facilitated conversations each month that build skills, deepen interest, and get everyone working together on the big problems of our time.

Empower elders to protect the climate and strengthen our democracy.