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Protesters say: ‘No to utility shutoffs’

Published Apr 16, 2009 10:12 PM

Power 4 the People, a committee of the Bail Out the People Movement—which marched April 3-4 against the big banks on Wall Street—along with the Coalition to Re-regulate BGE and the Network to Stop Foreclosures & Evictions marched on the lavish Baltimore home of Constellation/BGE (Baltimore Gas & Electric) CEO Mayo Shattuck on April 6.

Renee Washington, Joe Bullock and
John Cheatham bring a strong protest message
against Baltimore Gas & Electric’s CEO.

Protesters were responding to the announcement that BGE was scheduled to shut off utilities for 84,000 households in Maryland. This number is nearly three times larger than it was in 2008.

Police vehicles lined the driveway of Shattuck’s estate, but their presence did not deter demonstrators who took over the streets and then lit candles to symbolize those families who will be without light.

Tragically, Betty Godfrey, a 61-year-old woman whose utilities had been cut off in East Baltimore, died the same day as a result of injuries from a house fire started by candles.

The Bail Out the People Movement is demanding an immediate moratorium on all shut-offs; a people’s investigation of the impact of utility shut-offs on the health and safety of the community; cancellation of back bills for unemployed workers, disabled people, seniors and retired people living on fixed incomes, low-income families and children and those with health conditions requiring utilities; and a rollback in rates for all individual users and small businesses.

Steven Ceci, a spokesperson for the group, stated, “Heat and light are a right! The people of the state of Maryland are facing a crisis as bad as any hurricane or tornado. Under state statutes and the Baltimore City Charter, both the Governor and the Mayor can intervene to protect the people from disaster. They can declare a moratorium. Our project, Power 4 the People, will be organizing a statewide fight to win justice.”