Read the full story at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.
In 2011, the neighborhoods of Highland Park, Mich. went dark. The utility company had repossessed streetlights to collect on the city’s debt. Unwilling to stand idly by, the people of Highland Park organized to light the streets themselves using off-grid, renewable energy.
In this episode of Local Energy Rules, host John Farrell speaks with Maria Thomas, Outreach and Organizing Coordinator for Soulardarity. The two discussed energy democracy, and Soulardarity’s work in Highland Park, live in Milwaukee at the RE-AMP annual meeting. Highland Park, home to the first Ford Model-T assembly line, is suffering from economic downturn. As industry departed, the Detroit suburb shrank – along with its tax base. This left the city indebted to the monopoly utility company, DTE energy. To collect on this debt, without any notice, the utility pulled more than a thousand streetlights from residential areas.