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Stop the power shutoffs

736
Supporters Spoke up in this Action
Delivery to the Florida Public Service Commission

Action Ended On

October 6, 2020

What Happens Next

Thank you to all who took action! The Florida Public Service Commission rejected our petition, putting a million Floridians at risk of having their power shutoff. Your actions gave our petition a fighting chance, and we are grateful for your advocacy.

What was at Stake

Even though the pandemic continues, Florida utilities are set to resume power shutoffs — which they paused at the beginning of the pandemic — threatening the health of one million Floridians. Earthjustice responded by filing an emergency petition to the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC), which regulates the state’s utilities, requesting action to stop the disconnections and protect Florida families during the pandemic. Shutting power off for people who have lost income because of COVID-19 does not serve the public interest. We might be able to stop this ill-advised decision — but we’ll need your help. The PSC is taking public comment on our petition, and we need to show overwhelming opposition to continued utility disconnections.

COVID-driven utility disconnections present an immediate danger, as they hinder the ability of families and residents to stay home and safe, in accordance with the social distancing guidelines set by public health authorities. Additionally, people without electricity in their homes will have no ability to stay cool, power medical devices, communicate with others, or stay warm during the winter months.

Low-income households are already among the hardest hit by COVID — the result of lower-paying jobs being less likely to allow employees to work from home, as well as inadequate public assistance and healthcare resources for workers. Resuming shutoffs — which amount to an eviction in Florida — will increase crowding, jeopardize efforts to contain the pandemic, and hurt low-income households even further.

Shutting people’s power off during a pandemic is unacceptable, and lives are at stake if we don’t act. Please take a moment to protect one million Floridians by sending a letter to the PSC urging the commission to prevent unnecessary utility disconnections.

Joe Raedle

A utility worker helps repair the electrical grid in the wake of Hurricane Michael on October 16, 2018 in Panama City, Florida.

Your Actions Matter

Your messages make a difference, even if we have leaders who don't want to listen. Here's why.

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You level the playing field.

Elected officials pay attention when they see that we are paying attention.

They may be hearing from industry lobbyists left and right, but hearing the stories of their constituents — that’s your power.

Our legislators serve at the pleasure of the people who gave them their job — you. When you contact your elected official, you’re putting a face and a name on an issue. Whether or not you voted for them, they work for you, for the duration of their term.

Make sure your elected officials know whose community and whose values they represent. (Find your local, state, and federal elected officials.)

Your action is with us in court.

If a federal agency finalizes a harmful action, the record of public comments provides a basis for bringing them into court.

Throughout each of the public comment periods we alert you to, Earthjustice’s attorneys are researching and writing in-depth, technical comments to submit — detailing how the regulation could and should be stronger to protect the environment, our communities, and our planet.

We need you to join us — your specific experiences, knowledge, and voice are crucial to add to the Administrative Record through the comment periods.

Lawsuits we file that challenge weak or harmful federal regulations rely on what was submitted during the comment period. The court can only look at documents that are in the Administrative Record — including the public comments — to decide if the agency did something improper.

Your actions aid our litigation. Taking action and submitting comments during a comment period is substantively important.

It’s the law.

Federal agencies must pause what they’re doing and ask for — and consider — your comment.

Many of us may have never heard of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), but laws like these require our government to ask the public to weigh in before agencies adopt or change regulations.

Regulations essentially describe how federal agencies will carry out laws — including decisions that could undermine science, or weaken safeguards on public health.

Public comments are collected at various points throughout the federal government’s rulemaking process, including when a regulation is proposed and finalized. (Learn more about the rulemaking process.) These comments become part of the official, legal public record — the “Administrative Record.”

When the public responds with a huge outpouring of support for environmental protections, these individual messages collectively undercut politicians' attempts to claim otherwise.

What this means is each of us can take a role in shaping the rules our government creates — and ensuring those rules are fair and effective.