For Daniel Atonna, access to utilities is a personal matter.
Atonna, who grew up in New York’s Hudson Valley, said his family couldn’t always afford to heat their home. On some nights, when the heat wasn’t running, he and his sister accompanied their mother to her overnight shifts at a nearby nursing home. The two would sleep in the facility’s lobby, ensuring they were able to stay warm.
Now 24 years old, Atonna said his family’s experiences with privately owned power companies have, in part, inspired his work organizing for a different system in New York: Publicly owned and government-operated utilities.
“These private utilities are not up to the task,” Atonna said. “They can’t even maintain the current energy grid, let alone get us prepared for the future.”