Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Utility talk

ACORN, a nonprofit political group, is doing work on utility matters. They are worried about the high price of gas, electric and such for residents.

See that comments below for more insights and to leave your comments too.


Anonymous said...

ACORN's Fair Utilities For All Platform:

Protect vulnerable Pennsylvanians from losing heat in the winter
The Pennsylvania State Legislature can amend Act 201 to prohibit winter shut-off without review and approval by the PUC.
Families should be offered reasonable payment plans which allow them to pay back bills over time rather than facing loss of basic utility services

Create additional emergency assistance program for families, especially the many low-income families who do not qualify now for LIHEAP

The Pennsylvania State Legislature can pass legislation to create a state funding stream for LIHEAP. Pennsylvania is one of only two cold weather states which does not supplement Federal LIHEAP dollars. Increased funding could enable the eligibility from 135% of poverty to 150% of poverty, in line with most other states.
The Pennsylvania State Legislature can pass legislation to create a Utility Deposit Trust Fund, similar to that created in NJ passed some years ago. Right now, unclaimed property held by the electric and gas utilities is turned over to the general fund; instead it could fund an emergency assistance program for working poor families and seniors who are income ineligible for LIHEAP.

Create fair policies to allow shut-off families to get turned back on
The Pennsylvania State Legislature can pass legislation to:
Limit deposits and reconnection fees
Require fair and workable repayment plans, which allow families to pay what they owe over time

Make sure all eligible families know about universal service discount programs
Today these programs are seriously underulitized. Utility companies and the state must devote adequate resources to getting the word out about these programs, including by funding outreach through community organizations and including information in billing statements and notices.

For more information, please contact:
Ali Kronley or Brady Russell at Pennsylvania ACORN, 215 765 0042.

ACORN, a non-partisan organization, is the nation's largest community organization of low- and moderate-income families, with over 150,000 member families organized into 700 neighborhood chapters in 60 cities across the country. In Pennsylvania, ACORN has over 10,000 members, organized in neighborhood chapters in every region of the state. Our priorities include: better housing for first time homebuyers and tenants, living wages for low-wage workers, more investment in our communities from banks and governments, and better public schools. We achieve these goals by building community organizations that have the power to win changes -- through direct action, negotiation, legislation, and voter participation. ACORN is an acronym, and each letter should be capitalized. ACORN stands for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.

Pennsylvania ACORN
846 N Broad Street Philadelphia, PA 19130
215 765 0042 (p) 215 765 0045 (fax)
paacorn@acorn.org www.acorn.org

Mark Rauterkus said...

part 2 (the sign-up for support of the platform form).

Defend our Communities,
Not our Corporations!

Fair Utilities
For All!!

In early 2005, the Pennsylvania State Legislature secretly passed a new law regulating utility companies, Act 201. This bill, which was supported by PGW and other utility companies, makes it easier for gas companies to shut people off in the winter and harder for families to get their gas turned back on all year round. As a result, 100,000 households are expected to be without heat on November 1st, twice as high as last year's numbers. To add to the crisis, Pennsylvania is one of the few states without a state fund for LIHEAP and most assistance programs are so under funded that they run out of money before the winter is over.

This legislation is putting our children, our seniors, our neighborhoods, and our society at risk. We/I join the campaign to urge the Pennsylvania State Legislature to adopt ACORN's "Fair Utilities for All Platform" to make sure hardworking families are not forced to choose feeding their households or heating their homes this winter.

I / We support ACORN’s Campaign to Win Fair Utilities for All from the PA Legislature

Name ________________________________ Signature _____________________________

Organization ___________________________________________(please Indicate if for ID only)

Address _______________________________________________ City ________ Zip _________

Phone _________________ Fax ____________ E-mail _____________ Web Site ____________

I / we will participate in the campaign events when scheduling permits.

I / we will generate postcards and/or calls to targeted PA Representatives at key periods in the campaign

I / we will help to get the following other individuals or organizations signed on to the Campaign:

We will include campaign updates in our newsletters /
e-mails to our mailing list;

I/ We will make a financial contribution to this campaig

You'll need to return the form / pledge to ACORN, 846 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130 -- www.acorn.org paacorn@acorn.org

Amos_thePokerCat said...

How can an organization be non-profit and political? I thought non-profits could not use tax deductable contributions to run political campaigns?

Mark Rauterkus said...

No. There ARE nonprofits that are NOT allowed to be political, generally the 501(c)(3) type. But, there are others that are permitted to be political -- and even strive to be political.

A group like the ACLU is nonprofit and very political.

Some such nonprofits are issues based. Some are pushing political agendas, i.e. ACORN.

Point is, ACORN is more than just a soup kitchen -- by design.

And, I can set up a nonprofit by the state and not jump through the federal hoops to be a nonprofit with the feds for IRS reasons.

Furthermore, in a sense, all PACs (political action committees) are nonprofits. PACs can't make money and pay shareholders (as for-profit corporations generally could). One can't liquidate a PAC and take the money out of it for personal gain/use. The money from a PAC would need to flow to another PAC.

Hence, this is why Barbara Haffer isn't running for US Senate nor in a big vacation home on the beach in the Other Banks (sic intended).