Pressure’s on, PECO: Activists says City needs PECO on board for environmental plans to work

About 40 environmental activists marched from the PECO building at 2301 Market St. to City Hall on Feb. 19. A part of the Power Local Green Jobs campaign, protesters want the electric company, PECO, to increase its use of solar…

About 40 environmental activists marched from the PECO building at 2301 Market St. to City Hall on Feb. 19. A part of the Power Local Green Jobs campaign, protesters want the electric company, PECO, to increase its use of solar energy above the one percent requirement and to create more green jobs.

After reaching City Hall, activists gave speeches and then entered the building to speak with City Council members about joining the effort. Activists visited a number of offices to deliver information, including Council members Curtis Jones, Jannie Blackwell and Bobby Henon, the latter of whom is still dealing with the aftermath of his corruption charges in the Johnny Doc indictment case.

“We are pushing PECO into the future and they’ve been very reluctant,” said Eileen Flanagan, board member of Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT). “We know that we need a Green New Deal for this region and their parent company Exelon needs to be a part of that.”  

This was the latest demonstration in an ongoing collaborative campaign since 2015 between environmental group EQAT and interfaith organization Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower and Rebuild (POWER). Last March, the activists staged a three day action at PECO’s building, which led to 25 arrests, according to Flanagan.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney has started to rollout his sustainable legislative plans, including the transition of all City buildings to run on 100 percent renewable energy by 2030. Flanagan challenged that the City will be unable to achieve its goals without PECO on board. The Power Local Green Jobs campaign has challenged PECO to create 20 percent local solar, in addition to green jobs, by 2025.

“We are thrilled that Philadelphia leaders are thinking about how to make Philadelphia more sustainable,” Flanagan said. “The reason that we’re marching to City Hall and asking politicians to join in our message to PECO is that we don’t believe that the region can get where those visions say we need to go without PECO and Exelon playing a major role.”

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