KFTC Blog

KFTC members continue to build New Power through the Power House Energy Efficiency workshops

Posted by: KFTC Staff on November 9, 2018

Since April of this year, KFTC members across eastern Kentucky have helped host energy efficiency workshops in their communities, as part of our ongoing Power House Project. The Power House Project builds collective power by educating communities about Eastern Kentucky’s energy landscape, how we can influence it, and ways that we can lower our bills immediately through do-it-yourself weatherization strategies.

Kentucky’s energy system is a “regulated monopoly,” in which each utility provider is guaranteed a monopoly over their service territory. This means that where you live determines where you get your energy–and how much you pay for it. Some Kentuckians are paying as much as 23% of their annual income for their electricity bills, which leads to difficult choices like living in discomfort during the winter and summer, or having less money to use on the other things that keep our families healthy and happy.

Kentucky's Electric Energy Burden

It is with this context in mind that members of the KFTC NET Committee drew up a free, 2-hour workshop that teaches participants about individual actions they can take to seal up their homes and lower their bills–and about the steps we can collectively take to demand better from our utilities, elected officials, and the Kentucky Public Service Commission. The workshops place particular emphasis on Kentucky’s rural electric cooperatives (RECs), which serve 35% of Kentucky residents and are beholden to the decisions of their member-owners (unlike investor-owned utilities like Kentucky Utilities or Kentucky Power).


Each workshop is tailored to the county it takes place in and the utilities that operate in it. Each participant receives a folder full of resources–including local maps of the county’s energy landscape–and a free energy efficiency “kit,” valued at $25, to help them get started on sealing up their home right away. Some include an extended segment on what’s possible with renewable energy in Kentucky.


As part of every workshop’s outreach strategy, members go door-knocking in neighborhoods where bills are high to invite people to the workshop–and to register them to vote or talk about the upcoming election. Many of the folks we’ve met through these workshops have in turn joined our local chapters, joined us in local voter registration efforts, and grown as member leaders. Several workshop participants have expressed outrage at the money our utilities funneled into killing rooftop solar last year, and have pledged to come lobbying with us in the next General Assembly if utilities attempt another attack on Kentucky’s solar industry.


Since the launch of the project, KFTC members have led eight workshops in Bath, Pulaski, Floyd, Robertson, Breathitt, Rowan, Laurel, and Wolfe counties. KFTC members and energy experts Chris Woolery and Rachel Norton have led the “Energy Efficiency 101” segments of five of these eight.

Rowan County Power House workshop

The workshop in London at the end of September was co-hosted by the Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition. Cumberland chapter KFTC member Shawn Cowden reflected, “[the workshop] was very informative, and I learned some simple tips to help save money on electricity.”


Shawn is excited to talk to his neighbors about pushing their electric cooperative Cumberland Valley Electric to offer the on-bill financing program How$mart, which allows member-owners to access high-return energy efficiency retrofits for their homes without any upfront cost. Only six of the sixteen eastern Kentucky co-ops currently offer How$mart, and one of the goals of the Power House project is to substantially increase participation in this program.


Member Collin Alexander of the Rowan County chapter was excited to attend the September Power House workshop in Morehead after attending CommonBound 2018, where he learned about the ownership he had over Grayson RECC as a co-op member-owner.

For me, the Power House workshop was everything that KFTC means to me: [a] group of people from every walk of life coming together for the betterment of the community and their homes,” he reflected. “It is without a doubt that KFTC embraces individual activism and–when collaborated together with peers and colleagues across the commonwealth–garner a voice for individuals and the masses. Regardless of what you’re passionate about, KFTC embraces your passion and promotes better and more sustainable livelihoods for Kentucky folk.”


The ninth Power House workshop will be in Powell County on November 17 at 10 a.m., at the Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic Church (1093 E College Ave) in Stanton. To help bring one to your own community, contact Organizing Apprentice Nikita Perumal at nikita@kftc.org or (502) 554-6633.  



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Today we say thank you. Tomorrow, we organize.

Posted by: KFTC staff on November 7, 2018

Polls open at 6 a.m. tomorrow. Three Actions

Posted by: KFTC Staff on November 5, 2018

LGBTQ History Month 1Tomorrow is Election Day – Tuesday, November 6.

This is a critical election, unlike any other. Control of the Kentucky House, the US House and local governments hang in the balance, and tomorrow’s results will determine how effectively we can fight for our vision in 2019 and 2020.

In this long election cycle we’ve registered thousands of people to vote and talked with tens of thousands at events, trainings, phone banks and more. But there’s still a few things you can do in the next day and a half that can make the difference.

  1. Learn about the candidates and vote. Polls are open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. You can see what’s on your ballot, where candidates stand on issues, find your voting location and more at www.KentuckyElection.org. Make a plan now to vote tomorrow.
  2. Spread the word to friends and family. Call everyone in your cell phone tonight to remind them to vote; use social media to talk about candidates you care about; share www.KentuckyElection.org with everyone you run into between now and 6 p.m. tomorrow. It might feel like everyone you know is already voting and knows who they’re voting for – but some of them aren’t ready yet. You can actually make the difference for a lot of your friends. If you and all 12,000 KFTC members do this, we win big on election day.
  3. Volunteer. There’s still time to volunteer with your local KFTC chapter and call voters to mobilize them, pass out our voter guides, go door-to-door, and join in creative election day events like bike parades! Contact your local KFTC organizer or reach out to our Democracy Organizer Dave Newton at 859-420-8919 or Dave@kftc.org to volunteer outside of chapter areas.

There's a Constitutional Amendment on Tuesday's Ballot

Posted by: KFTC Staff on November 1, 2018

All Kentucky voters will be asked to vote on a proposed constitutional amendment called Marsy's Law on Tuesday's ballot. We encourage all of our members to do some research before voting and we've provded a basic start below.

This measure might put into place expanded constitutional rights for crime victims during the judicial process.

Votes on this issue will be counted; however, a judge has ruled that the ballot measure is so vaguely worded that the vote can't be certified. “The electorate cannot be expected to vote on a Constitutional amendment of which they are not adequately informed of the substance,” Franklin Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate's order said.

However, there remains a possibility that the judicial ruling could be overturned some time after the election, leading to a confusing situation where there might be signs up at polling locations rightly telling voters that their vote on this issue won’t count, but then later after the election it might count after all.


WHAT DOES A YES VOTE MEAN?

A “yes” vote might add Marsy’s Law to the Kentucky constitution.


WHAT DOES A NO VOTE MEAN?

A “no” vote does not add Marsy’s Law to the Kentucky Constitution. Instead, victims of crime would continue to rely on the “Kentucky Crime Victim Bill of Rights” as well as the VINE (Victim Information and Notification Everyday) nationwide system for updates on changes related to their case.


DEEPER DIVE

Shelby County KFTC hosts state legislative candidate forum

Posted by: Carissa Lenfert on October 23, 2018

Over 100 people came out last night for a candidate forum sponsored by the Shelby County KFTC chapter, the Shelbyville branch of the NAACP, Shelby County Retired Teacher's Association, and Shelby C

Madison County members host chili cook-off for Halloween

Posted by: Matthew Frederick on October 22, 2018

As Halloween approaches alongside the 2018 mid-term elections, KFTC members gathered for the Madison County chapter’s second annual Halloween Spectacular on October 21. The event brought together members and community participants from across Kentucky. Featuring a chili cook-off, costume contest and silent auction, the Halloween party served as a way to build new power, raise funds and promote KFTC’s Action For Democracy initiative.

Fixing What's Broke: why Congress must support a Just Transition for miners with black lung and communities

Posted by: Lisa Abbott on October 21, 2018

A new report from KFTC describes ways Kentuckians are organizing to demand action from Congress – and especially from Senator Mitch McConnell – in support of a Just Transition for miners with black lung disease, retired and laid off miners, and their communities.

To build a new economy in coal communities, the report says Congress should start by "fixing what's broke," including strengthening funding for the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund, passing the RECLAIM Act, and protecting miners' pensions.

Local black lung resolution is picking up steam in eastern Kentucky

Posted by: Lisa Abbott on October 16, 2018

Knott, Letcher, Rowan and Pike counties became the 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th local governments in eastern Kentucky to pass a local resolution calling on members of Congress to pass several bills needed to help sick, disabled, retired and unemployed coal miners and their communities. The fiscal courts in Letcher and Knott counties took the unanimous action at their respective monthly meetings on October 15, and Pike and Rowan counties acted the next day.

Advocates say other local governments will soon follow their example. The resolution was first adopted by the City of Benham in Harlan County in September. That action was followed quickly by local governments in the cities of Jackson, Morehead and Whitesburg, and in Breathitt, Knott, Letcher and Pike counties. The resolution is expected to be considered at upcoming meetings in Floyd, Whitley, and Harlan counties, among other places. (Update: the Floyd County Fiscal Court became the 10th Kentucky community to pass the resolution on October 18.)

President Trump and Andy Barr rally in Richmond, Kentuckians respond

Posted by: Matthew Frederick on October 15, 2018

President Donald Trump made a trip to Eastern Kentucky University on October 13, where he rallied supporters for Representati

How Absentee Voting works in Kentucky

Posted by: KFTC Staff on October 12, 2018

29626112627_8f4825f8ec_oOn election day, Tuesday, Nov 6th, polls in Kentucky will be open 6am to 6pm.

Unconditional Early Voting isn't allowed in Kentucky (as it is in many states), but in most cases, if you won't be in the Kentucky county where you're registered to vote on election day, you can vote absentee.

To vote absentee, there are several hoops to jump through, so it's good to start early:

1. You have to be registered to vote and you have to know what county you're registered in.  You can check that at GoVoteKY.com

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