Fueling the Holidays in Richmond, VA

16 December 2016

The holiday season conjures up images of holiday parties, Santa Claus, and excited kids opening presents on Christmas Day. To contribute, Fueling U.S. Forward and Reaching America partnered with the City of Richmond and RadioOne on December 10 to host a toy drive and holiday performance by several Grammy-level gospel artists. We also spent some time talking about energy, specifically the role it plays in making the holidays possible (as well as basically everything else we enjoy doing).

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Over 300 people from around the Richmond area poured in to the Trinity Family Life Center to enjoy the show, with lines forming before the doors opened. Recording artists such as Charles Jenkins and VaShawn Mitchell gave lively performances while the audience sang along. Interest in the panel discussion also proved to be quite engaging with several questions by the audience seeking ways to drive down the cost of their utility bills. It was clear that everyone recognized how important energy – and its cost – is in our daily lives.

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Despite America’s energy abundance, the cost of energy has not fallen for many Americans. Low income households, which disproportionately include many minority families, spend upward of 35% of their disposable income on energy. The audience was quite familiar with the reality of energy poverty and interested in what’s currently driving up electricity and fuel prices. Derrick Hollie of Reaching America addressed this point head on when he discussed the important role that fossil fuels play in providing abundant, affordable, reliable energy to the grid. Yet there remain many policies in place that force greater use of less reliable and more expensive energy sources (e.g., wind and solar). What is clear is that the real concerns of people struggling with energy poverty are rarely considered.

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All in all though, people walked away with a positive message of energy abundance and the value energy brings to all of our lives – as well as a great concert! We look forward to bringing this conversation to more communities in the coming year.

By Hubbel Relat

 

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