Utility Democracy and Justice for All

Key to our re-launch of the CUB is our focus on “utility democracy.”  

We refer to those necessary resources and services vital to the maintenance of the quality of life in an urban environment. Examples include: energy, water, and telecommunications.

When we use the term “democracy”, we are referring to ratepayers, taxpayers and residents having a vote and voice in the way in which public services are delivered in DC. When we have a situation where our local public assets, like our electric distribution system, is given away to outside interests and control, our votes and our voices are diminished. When we have water bills that seem bewildering to everyone, our faith and trust in the decision-makers are diminished.

“Utility Democracy” is a set of institutional arrangements that allow for DC residents and ratepayers to be able to be  efficiently and effectively provided with energy,water and telecommunications in DC.

For us creating “utility democracy” in DC is our response to the current crisis in utility services. This crisis is the result of the effects of (i) changing technologies, (ii) rising costs, and (iii) declining transparency and accountability. These effects are cumulative, resulting in low-income, fixed-income and middle-income families paying more for services than they need to be paying and forcing many of these families out of their homes and out of DC.

For us, “utility democracy” means ratepayers and residents matter and there are institutional structures in place for them to have a voice and to make a difference in way that protects their interests and themselves. 

CUB’s Movement Network

The CUB will be the focal point of a network of people and organizations that have a stake in making our public utilities serve the people best.  

A Network of Groups 

The CUB will be a network of Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, faith based organizations, labor unions, tenant,and civic and citizen associations. 

A Network of Activities 

Some potential activities include: 

  • Being a “Watch Dog” that follows issues and decisions 
    • Electric
    • Water
    • Gas
    • Telecommunications 
  • Providing a “Platform” to: 
    • Engage community participation.  
    • Give citizens a voice
    • Expand community outreach 
  • Providing “Organizational Support” so  
    • Member organizations have the information they need to make informed decisions and take effective actions 
  • Developing or Sharing “Information & Analytics” 
    • Provide research & analysis that informs actions 
    • Provide a clearinghouse for best practices 
      • Policies 
      • Programs 
      • Technologies