March 5, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
State Senator Michael Gianaris, Councilman Costa Constantinides and Assemblyman Ron Kim will speak at a town hall tonight in Astoria centered on transferring corporate utilities like Con Edison into public ownership.
The event is being organized by NYC Democratic Socialists of America and will take place at HANAC George Douris Tower, located at 2740 Hoyt Ave. S from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. March 5. Several other community activist groups will take part and Assemblyman Brian Barnwell will also be in attendance.
The meeting forms part of NYC-DSA’s campaign called “Public Power NYC” which aims to make energy more affordable and comes in response to increased price hikes and several blackouts caused by the city’s main energy supplier Con Edison. The Con Ed service is unreliable, unsafe, and is accelerating the climate crisis, campaigners claim.
The event will discuss three bills currently in the state legislature that would bring about the public ownership of NYC energy production and its distribution. Two of the bills deal with expanding the New York Power Authority and requiring all state-owned and municipal properties to use renewable energy.
The third bill calls for the creation of a public utility that would take over Con Ed, National Grid, and Central Hudson G&E either through purchase or, if needed, eminent domain. Proponents say that this would guarantee rates lower than what these providers currently charge.
This is the only way to rein in companies like Con Ed, proponents say, who claim that the energy companies continue to increase profits while letting their infrastructure deteriorate. They also argue that the companies are resisting the transition to renewable energy.
“We need publicly owned and democratically controlled utilities that will rapidly build wind and solar energy, respect our right to heat and electricity and create thousands of good, union jobs,” said Andrea Guinn, from NYC Democratic Socialists of America.
In addition, organizers will discuss the Green New Deal and update attendees on other Public Power NYC town halls held in Brooklyn and the Bronx recently.
Details about the event can be found here.