Editor's Reflection for ERP's September 2021 Media Brief

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I found the artifacts that I contributed to our September 2021 Media Brief through bi-weekly google searches using the following key words: "Philadelphia energy" "Philadelphia utilities" "Climate Change" and "Hurricane Ida". I also receive daily news digests from U.S. Energy News and Northeast Energy News, and chose the artifact titled “Taliban Grabs Mineral Riches Coveted by Energy Developers” from a U.S. Energy News digest that I received in the month of September. I searched for “Philadelphia energy” and "Philadelphia utilities" because I track energy-related news in Philadelphia for another one of my responsibilities as a researcher for the Energy Rights Project. Every few weeks I update “Philadelphia News You Can Use”, which is a PECE essay on energyrights.info which pulls together news reports and other media related to household energy in Philadelphia. These key word searches is how I found the artifacts titled "CAN’T GET INTO YOUR PGW ACCOUNT? 94,000 CUSTOMERS HAVE TO RE-REGISTER AFTER ONLINE UPDATE" and "PA. STYMIES PHILADELPHIA GREEN-ENERGY PLAN TO ADD BIOGAS TO PGW’S FUEL." The first artifact reminded me of an artifact I found a few months earlier about PECO improperly shutting off 50,000 customers because of computer glitches, and both of these artifacts demonstrate how defects in the technical infrastructure constituting our sociotechnical systems can amplify energy burdens. This artifact also exemplified the fraught lines of communication between utility companies and customers in Philadelphia, which may hinder any plans that Philadelphia Gas Works' puts forth to decarbonize, which will entail clear and consistent outreach between PGW and their customers. The second artifact also relates to PGW's diversification study, and discusses PUC's rejection of PGW's proposal to add Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) to their gas mix. I had mixed feelings about this news. The RNG option for decarbonization is the least effective at reducing carbon emissions, and would allow PGW to perpetuate their fossil fuel legacy, however because this option was seemingly the "easiest" option, I fear that the other routes to decarbonization which require major infrastructural changes and collaboration may not be put forth anytime soon. 

I chose to use the keywords "Hurricane Ida" and "Climate change" in my searches this month because Hurricane Ida was a monumental natural disaster that occurred in September 2021. My artifact "HURRICANE IDA POWER FAILURES PROMPT CALLS FOR MORE SOLAR ENERGY, TOUGHER GRIDS" discusses how natural disasters highlight grid vulnerabilities, and provides an example that shows how home solar energy systems are resilient to increasingly detrimental natural disasters. I have a personal interest in community solar microgrids and how community solar/individual scale solar systems can create energy sovereignty, and the story of Jean Hazlett in this article really exemplifies an energy future that I dream all individuals, and most importantly energy vulnerable individuals, can have. 

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Contributed date

January 3, 2022 - 3:19pm

Critical Commentary

This artifact breaks down how I went about finding the artifacts that I contributed to the September 2021 Media Brief. 

Cite as

Morgan Sarao, "Editor's Reflection for ERP's September 2021 Media Brief ", contributed by Morgan Sarao, The Energy Rights Project, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 18 May 2022, accessed 17 August 2022. https://energyrights.info/content/editors-reflection-erps-september-2021-media-brief