Monday, September 20, 2021


The American Rescue Plan could provide essential training to boost jobs in construction, and we explore a trauma-informed approach to preventing marijuana use in teens.


Pfizer says its vaccine is safe for children ages 5 to 11, travel restrictions soon will ease for vaccinated international visitors to the U.S., and a Texas doctor who performed an abortion under new restrictions is sued.


Lawsuits stall debt relief for America's Black farmers; Idaho hospitals using "critical care" protocols; grant money boosts rural towns in Utah and more conservation acreage could protect the iconic sage grouse.

Pandemic Spotlights Opportunities for Utility Equity in Colorado


Wednesday, May 12, 2021   

DENVER -- The number of Coloradans who need help to keep the power on in their homes rose dramatically during the coronavirus pandemic, and energy experts say lessons learned could help utility companies, policymakers and government agencies address longstanding inequities.

Jennifer Gremmert, executive director of Energy Outreach Colorado, said COVID-19 put a spotlight on the economic fragility of communities of color and low-income families, including front-line workers praised for their efforts in hospitals and grocery stores.

"And what we saw as a result of the pandemic was that so many people were really living on the edge, that were one crisis away from not being able to afford their energy bills," Gremmert recounted. "We also saw a disproportionate amount of minorities that needed this assistance."

When thousands lost jobs, or were forced to leave the workforce to care for children when schools closed, many families had to make difficult decisions.

Gremmert noted her group's toll-free assistance hotline received more than 250,000 calls for assistance during the past year. The group paid more than 25,000 past-due utility bills, a 46% increase over the previous year.

Gremmert emphasized we're not out of the dark yet, pointing to the Great Recession, from which it took years for low-wage workers to recover.

Even before the pandemic, one in four Colorado households struggled to pay their energy bills, and Gremmert argued now is the time to make systemic changes.

She suggested steps should be taken by utility companies, lawmakers, government agencies and nonprofits to ensure families most at risk can access payment assistance, and replace broken furnaces and ceiling fans.

"But also just a fundamental belief that we have to help our neighbors in need," Gremmert urged. "And it may not be for a long period of time, but it's to make sure that they can be healthy participants in our communities."

Gremmert pointed out removing barriers, including bureaucratic red tape, will help more people from getting their power cut off.

Next, she stressed investments in energy efficiency for low-income housing units can help lower monthly utility bills. She added new energy policies, as the nation shifts away from climate-polluting sources, need to include the state's most vulnerable families.

Disclosure: Energy Outreach Colorado contributes to our fund for reporting on Energy Policy, and Housing/Homelessness. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

get more stories like this via email
This, year the theme of Sea Otter Awareness Week is the species' key role in the mosaic of the ecosystem. (Wikimedia Commons)


MONTEREY BAY, Calif. - This week, conservation groups are celebrating Sea Otter Awareness Week with online and in-person events across the state…


LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Admission to any state park in Nevada is free this coming Saturday, as part of the first Nevada Public Lands Week - with a series …

Social Issues

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A new Redistricting Advisory Council announced last week by Gov. Tom Wolf's office will focus on reducing gerrymandering as new …

The Nature Conservancy says the U.S. loses nearly 1 million acres of forest lands each year through development and other factors, reducing nature's ability to capture and store carbon dioxide. (Adobe Stock)


DULUTH, Minn. - As Minnesota looks to address the impact of climate change on the region, land managers and policymakers are reminded of the role …

Health and Wellness

By Savanna Strott for Eye on Ohio, The Ohio Center for Journalism Broadcast version by Emily Scott for Ohio News Connection. COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio …

According to the CDC, around 181 million Americans have received COVID-19 vaccinations. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- One in five unvaccinated Kentuckians say they are open to getting the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a new poll from the …

Health and Wellness

HELENA, Mont. - It can be hard for people with disabilities to afford the assistive technology they need to perform daily activities. A program in …

Social Issues

LA CONNER, Wash. - The exhibit of an artist who depicted the lives of farmworkers in northwest Washington has been recognized for its quality…


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021