Memphis is the first stop of the “Energy Democracy”
listening tour hoped to put more of the public in Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) “public power.”
Tour stops will give community members chances to discuss the history and impacts of the TVA energy system, evaluate decision making, and “will invite attendees to envision how our public power could better serve communities in the Valley.”
“In the Tennessee Valley, our ‘public’ power often feels no different than if we received an electric bill from a private utility like Duke or Dominion,” reads a statement from the groups. “When big decisions are made about our energy, community voices get sidelined by outside decision makers. The Energy Democracy Tour will unite these voices to create a new vision for public power in the Tennessee Valley.”
Dennis Lynch, chairman of the Sierra Club Chickasaw Group Memphis said utility customers have high energy burdens, meaning they spend a large portion of their paychecks on power. Memphians also have relatively small amounts of low-cost clean energy sources, like solar, he said.
“Fortunately, the local utility (Memphis Light, Gas & Water), community organizations, and public officials are working to address both of these problems, and maybe even separate from TVA,” Lynch said. “The Energy Democracy Tour will amplify these efforts, helping to energize the public around the need for more public input and financial resources dedicated to addressing the problems.”
The “Democracy” tour will make stops in Nashville, Knoxville, LaFollette, Chattanooga, and Rogersville, Tennessee. The tour will also stop in Bowling Green, Kentucky and Huntsville, Alabama.
The Memphis tour stop is on Saturday, August 3rd, noon-3 p.m., at the Bickford Community Center (233 Henry Ave. Memphis, Tennessee 38107). The event is hosted by Save Energy Save Dollars Coalition, Friends of the Earth, Chickasaw Group of the Sierra Club, the Memphis Climate Reality Project, and MLGW.