Utilities’ Failures And Shady Practices Show We Need Energy Democracy
In June of 2021, torrential rains flooded the City of Detroit and surrounding areas, causing over $100 million in damages, mostly in poor, Black, and Brown neighborhoods. Kamau Clark, an organizer for the nonprofit We The People Michigan, moved into his apartment in Detroit’s West Village neighborhood just two days before the storm. “I came home at 2AM and the apartment was flooded,” he recalls. Overwhelmed and unsure of where to turn, Clark went to a town hall on the city’s east side, where representatives from water and sewage authorities tried to explain the situation to him and a crowd of angry residents. According to officials, the city’s infrastructure was not fit to handle the unprecedented volume of rain. However, there was another problem — the storm had also caused a power outage at the city’s wastewater facilities, rendering some of their pumps only partially operational. At the time, city officials told residents that it was these outages, combined with the heavy rain, that caused the record flooding.