The New Florida Majority has launched a petition urging residents to oppose the privatization of the community-owned Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA)
Jacksonville, FL – As the City of Jacksonville and Mayor Curry move forward with their plans to sell the Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA), opposition in the community has grown in the last month. Nueva mayoría de la Florida (NewFM) recently launched a petition against the privatization, which has reached more than 500 signatures in just a couple of weeks. Two weeks ago, NewFM and other organizations led a protest at City Hall, and more demonstrations are expected.
The petition directly asks Mayor Curry and the Jacksonville City Council to keep JEA public stating that “for 125 years, JEA has provided long term value to its community, hired people in Jacksonville and guaranteed rate stability to all families. Privatizing our JEA would change this. It will create a monopoly, increase the price of our electrical bills and decline the quality of services. The dividends will stop going to our government to invest in our city; they will be given to the wealthy who are shareholders instead of the community.”
“We have seen what happens when utilities are privatized in other cities. Mayor Curry won’t feel the change but we will, and we matter,” said Michael Todd, New Florida Majority North Florida Lead Organizer. “This sale will deepen poverty and destabilize the rate structure of electric and water service. We won’t stand by and let the wealthy benefit from our oppression. JEA is not for sale.”
On Monday, November 25th, Former Mayor Jake Godbold took out a full-page advertisement in the Times-Union calling on the Jacksonville City Council to put a stop to JEA privatization discussions. The next day, Nueva mayoría de la Florida (NewFM) and Northside Coalition of Jacksonville joined other organizations, and community members at City Hall to protest and let Mayor Curry know that JEA belongs to the people.
The opposition against the sale of JEA to a private company is continuously growing and the JEA petition has increased its goal to 1,000 signatures which the organization hopes to obtain by January.
“We are knocking on doors to make sure people in Jacksonville know what’s happening and have an opportunity to speak up, organize, and mobilize to defend the Jacksonville Electrical Authority,” said Christian Gonzalez-Orbegoso, New Florida Majority North Florida Organizer. “JEA was made by the people for the people and we cannot stand for City officials and Mayor Curry to turn a deaf ear to our people. Our voice is only growing and we will not stop until talk around privatization ceases and desists.”