The People’s Utilities Playbook

Electric utilities have expanded into almost every aspect of our lives to become one of the most powerful and concentrated industries on Earth. Energy democracy activists are increasingly colliding with energy utilities, whose interests are often in conflict with the economic and climate justice needs of our communities.

These two guides are designed to educate & engage the public in how to effectively organize against utilities and advocate for energy justice.

The People’s Utility Justice Playbook

People's Utility Justice Playbook Cover Image

Utilities have their own playbook, now we have our own!

The People’s Utilities Playbook exposes utility tactics and shares how communities are building power to fight back. With this information, we can then more strategically build our organizing strength—to not only fight back but also to build the democratic energy system for climate justice.

The first section focuses on the different types of fights waged between utilities and energy democracy activists across the country so that readers can identify why and how they may be targeted.

The second section explores the tactics that utilities use against energy democracy activists during these different fights so that readers can identify the methods to effectively push back.



The People’s History of Utilities

People's History of Utilities

Study the past so that you can change the future.

How our energy system runs or is governed is not a given.

It is the product of over one hundred years of political struggle.

This brief timeline tries to put the different institutions and infrastructure that makes up our energy system today within the context of political and power struggles.

It’s designed to help everyone gain a better understanding of what we are fighting against.



Watch: Experts discuss the People’s Utility Justice Playbook

Yesenia Rivera, of Solar United Neighbors, and Nora Elmarzouky, of POWER Interfaith discuss the playbook and how you can use it to expand energy democracy in a community near you.

About these resources

The People’s Utilities Playbook & People’s History of Utilities was created by the Energy Democracy Project, a unique collaboration of close to 40 geographically and racially diverse organizations working to democratize the energy sector, including Solar United Neighbors and our Director of Energy Equity and Inclusion Yesenia Rivera –  with help from many individuals and organizations.




The Energy Democracy Project developed this Playbook with the support of many of its affiliated organizations, including Solar United Neighbors and our Director of Energy Equity and Inclusion Yesenia Rivera.

The Energy Democracy Project is a collaboration of more than 30 diverse, local, frontline organizations across the U.S. to strengthen their collective efforts to democratize energy and advance the emerging energy democracy movement in the United States. 

The Project serves as a collective resource to advance the effort of organizations working to democratize energy in the United States.