Opinion
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Nickey Kollie
NICKEY KOLLIE

Connecticut’s new Comprehensive Energy Strategy suggests that people who can’t afford electric vehicles, or can’t charge them where they live, do two things: use a ride-share service or ride a bus. I find this to be upsetting, unfair, and definitely not equitable.

When I talk to my friends, I share with them real information about the state’s new plan to electrify everything, and how it might impact them.  At first, they think it’s going to be great but they don’t really understand what this might mean for them.

There are definitely a lot of “what-ifs” in this plan that people need to understand and know exactly what is at risk.

What if you couldn’t afford an electric vehicle? What if it would cost you more to drive your current gasoline-powered car? What if you could no longer drive that gasoline-powered car? What if you had no way to get to work or the grocery store? What if you had no way to drive your child to school or to the pediatrician? What would you do?

These are all legitimate questions, and all very real scenarios, under the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s new Comprehensive Energy Strategy also called CES 2022! Every few years, policymakers and state regulators come up with a new plan regarding energy issues in the state. This year, climate change is on the agenda, as it should be! But the plan to electrify everything is extreme, and could severely impact people in disproportionately affected communities in Hartford, Bridgeport, Waterbury, New Haven, Meriden, and the list goes on and on.

Many people who live in these urban communities won’t have access to charging stations in their multifamily homes or apartment buildings, and that’s if they could even afford one! Will their landlords being willing to pay for the expensive upgrade needed to install charging stations where they live? Probably not!

Perhaps, a few years down the road, they might be able to buy a used EV but does that mean they would have to sit at a charging station away from their home for 45 minutes to charge their car? That’s a long time; it would greatly impact their schedule, their lives, and their livelihoods. Again, that’s even if they could afford an EV. But the more dire scenario is what if state government outright bans the use of gasoline-powered cars? They suggest riding a bus or ordering an Uber. I would like to see those offering up these “solutions” try to juggle groceries on a bus or bring a kid to the doctor in an Uber.

I don’t consider their plan, or their options, to be equitable at all!  It’s definitely NOT inclusive, and it most definitely would impact economically disadvantaged communities.

We need the people impacted by these proposed policies to be involved in the conversation. They should know the implications of the policies being set forth in a real way:  not just in dockets and through public hearings. Supporters of this plan have an obligation to go knocking on doors in communities greatly impacted to really tell them, face-to-face, how the policies are going to impact them, their livelihoods, and their pocketbooks.

The CES plan calls for looking at their efforts through an equity lens. If that’s the case, they need to reexamine this lens because it does not see clearly.

We have solutions right now that positively impact everyone, and not just one community but all communities.

That’s what inclusion is.  It’s not just about targeting urban communities; it’s to make the environment safe for everyone.

We deserve a seat at the table in this new plan. We are here to help. We are not the enemy. As a millennial, I want to make sure that I have a beautiful world to have children in one day and I want everyone to know that we are part of the solution.

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Nickey Kollie

Nickey Kollie is Director of Legislative Affairs & Member Services for the Connecticut Energy Marketers Association.

The views, opinions, positions, or strategies expressed by the author are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or positions of CTNewsJunkie.com.