AEP power outage creates bigger problems for the poor and ill

AEP power outage creates bigger problems for the poor and ill

AEP power outage creates bigger problems for the poor and ill

Diane Jackson has served as a team member and network member in the BREAD (Building Responsibility, Equality, And Dignity) Organization for four years. She has a strong desire to see environmental justice implemented in the city.

As one of the nearly 170,000 households in Columbus “chosen” by AEP for intentional power outage, I am appalled and frustrated.

Although my electric bill was paid, AEP chose to turn off the service in the area where I reside, disrupting my home and community with extreme heat, black nights, the threat of food spoiling, and children sleeping in their air-conditioned SUV instead of being tucked in their beds.

More:Before throwing away spoiled food due to AEP power outage, think about filing a claim

Diane Jackson has served as a team member and network member in the BREAD (Building Responsibility, Equality, And Dignity) Organization for four years.  She has a strong desire to see environmental justice implemented in the city.

More:How to submit guest opinion columns to the Columbus Dispatch

Did AEP even consider the horrific inconvenience and discomfort that the intentional power outages would have on low-income households?

More:How healthy are we? New report finds far too many struggling for dear life in here.

They are the most vulnerable in our community. Many of the families or individuals were already struggling to beat the heat before “intentional” power outages were implemented.

I am a BREAD board member. We represent 44 racially and religiously diverse congregations with over 20,000 members across Central Ohio.

More:AEP Ohio intentionally shut off power to some Greater Columbus neighborhoods. here’s why

Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers restaurant on Olentangy River Road closed due to the power outage.

I also serve on the Steering Committee for our environmental justice campaign, and our research substantiates that these “intentional” power outages foreshadow what residents can expect in Columbus if we continue to ignore the climate crisis our city is facing.

More:Columbus voters approve green-energy aggregation plan

Columbus is getting hotter and wetter, and that directly impacts the health of our community. Heat and humidity make it difficult to breathe, especially for those with respiratory issues like COPD and asthma. Columbus is already the 13th most challenging place in the US to live with asthma, and is the fastest growing – and eighth most intense urban heat island in the country.

More:EPA forecasts more deaths in Ohio as temperatures heat up due to climate change

That means the inner city of Columbus can get up to 24 degrees hotter than surrounding rural areas in the summer, and we are experiencing more 90+ degree days than ever before. In addition to that, we are getting more and more intense rainfall – such as the storms preceding these outages – and we end up in the horrible situation we find ourselves in today.

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