DTE, Consumers report on shutoffs, actions to protect vulnerable customers under MPSC order
May 1, 2020 | Jena Brooker & Nina Ignaczak

Reames says he sees evidence of the COVID-19 pandemic increasing what he calls “energy democracy” — which means more public participation in utility decisions.

Michigan environmental justice council to take on energy access and pollution.
February 10, 2020. Energy News Network. By Andy Balaskovitz.

“A lot of the environmental justice challenges we have are closely related to our energy production and energy consumption,” said Tony Reames, director of the University of Michigan’s Urban Energy Justice Lab.

Neighborhoods With More People of Color Pay Higher Energy Bills.
November 25, 2019. City Lab. By Brentin Mock

The findings confirm other studies that energy burden inequities are driven in part by racial segregation, such as work from the Urban Energy Justice Lab, which drew similar conclusions when looking at Kansas City and Detroit.

San Jose Becomes the Largest City in the US to Ban New Natural Gas Lines.
September 19, 2019. Earther. By Yessenia Funes

“A major concern is what happens with existing communities served by natural gas and the costs, reliability, and safety issues associated with maintaining old infrastructure,” Reames wrote.

Climate Resilience on Detroit’s East Side
September 13, 2019. Belt Magazine .By Nina Misuraca Ignaczak

Reames acknowledges that people in Carter’s income bracket often fall through the cracks. “People in that moderate income gap don’t qualify for the low income programs because they make too much money, but they don’t necessarily have the money to pay for these improvements on their own. So that’s a gap in policy, but it’s also a gap in some of our studies that focus on lower incomes.”

Elephant In The Room: Barriers To EV Adoption In Diverse Communities.
August 6, 2019. InsideEVs. By David Lardner

Dr. Reames says he’s excited to be in the EVHybridNoire group because “The information shared is great for me and it’s an outlet to share information. As a social science researcher, the discussions in the group offer a rich entry into the world of EV drivers of color, often counter to prevailing narratives.”

In Detroit, a legacy of inequality creates obstacles to clean energy.
May 29, 2019. Energy News Network. By Biba Adams

“Energy justice allows us to frame energy disparities across race, class, and place,” explains Reames, “The facts are this: We all pay the same rate for energy (in Michigan), but the rate of consumption is higher among low-income people.” And in Detroit, that largely means people of color.

Energy revolution must give low-income communities better access to affordable technologies. 
May 28, 2019. The Energy Mix.

Reames told e360 that some of the ideas for his research came from his experience of owning a rental house in Kansas City. He recalled a low-income tenant asking him if he could get a deal on compact fluorescent bulbs for her unit, since the price was beyond what she could afford.

Why Low-Income Households Need to Be Part of the Clean Energy Revolution.
May 16, 2019. Yale Environment 360. By Katherine Bagley

There are all these social challenges that play into how these inequities manifest. I’m not saying they’re intentional, but they’re real and I think they need to be recognized.

Energy-efficient LED bulbs often cost more in poor neighborhoods.
May 8, 2019 | Yale Climate Connections. 

Reames: “I think the more we’re able to recognize place, class, and race, and economics and how places are developed, then we can be smart about how we roll out programs.”

A Look at Climate Change and Why Black People Will Be Among Those Hardest Hit.
May 1, 2019. Blac Detroit Magazine. By Paris Giles

Detroit is not just an urban jungle, it’s also an “urban heat island,” says Tony Reames, Ph.D., assistant professor in the School for Environment and Sustainability at U-M and the director of its Urban Energy Justice Lab. His work focuses on a consideration of the disparities in affordability, access to renewable energy, access to energy efficient programs and the like. Due to fewer trees, less vegetation and human activity, cities tend to be hotter than rural areas. “As the climate continues to warm, temperatures in those areas will be higher. So, that’s going to lead to increased energy uses, which increases people’s bills, which increases unaffordability,” Reames says.

Energy access is not created equal. This Ann Arbor organization is trying to change that. Concentrate Magazine.
October 31, 2018. Concentrate Magazine. By Jaishree Drepaul-Bruder

“A just energy system fairly disseminates both the benefits and costs of energy services, and has representative and impartial energy decision-making,” Reames says.

Applications for energy assistance to be open all year starting Oct. 1.
September 28, 2018. Michigan News. By Maya Goldman

“I think now the next step would be like how do we streamline a lot of the other services that the health and human services provide?” Reames said.

Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs Harder to Find, More Expensive in High-Poverty Neighborhoods. 
May 21, 2018. Greentech Media.By By Justin Gerdes

“The ability to benefit from the transition to more energy-efficient lighting is not equitably distributed, and those disparities raise energy justice concerns,” Reames said.

Going green is harder for Detroit’s low-income communities.
May 9, 2018. By Greta Jocham

If innovations as simple as the LED bulb aren’t getting into the hands of everyone, Reames’ research suggests that the clean energy transition is leaving some people behind.

Michigan Road Scholars Tour to connect U-M faculty, state
April 30, 2018. The University Record. By Terrence Kosdrosky

“I’m working on a statewide research project so I really want to learn about the rest of the state when it comes to energy issues,” Reames said. “I want to see other parts of the state outside the southeastern portion so I can understand people’s perspectives on government policy and the environment.”

Access to energy-efficient lighting varies with poverty levels
April 11, 2018. The University Record. By Jim Erickson

“The lightbulb price and availability patterns we found point to potential barriers to the adoption of energy-efficient lighting in higher-poverty neighborhoods,” said study lead author Tony Reames, assistant professor at the School for Environment and Sustainability and director of its Urban Energy Justice Lab. “The ability to benefit from the transition to more energy-efficient lighting is not equitably distributed, and those disparities raise energy justice concerns.”

Wealthy benefit most from Michigan’s energy savings plans, study finds
December 14, 2017. Bridge Magazine. By Andy Balaskovitz

The study from the school’s Urban Energy Justice Lab found energy efficiency programs at Michigan’s two largest utilities disproportionately benefit wealthier ratepayers.

In Michigan, study shows utility energy savings mostly benefit wealthier customers.
December 13, 2017. Midwest Energy News. By Andy Balaskovitz.

The study created an “Energy Efficiency Equitable baseline” to show how much investment programs should receive if they were based proportionally on the number of customers. Basically, if low-income residents make up 30 percent of the rate base, then they should receive 30 percent of program funding.

How Detroit’s Climate Change Activists are Using Science to Plan for a Warmer City.
October 31, 2016.  By Nina Ignaczak

“It’s a justice issue,” Reames says. “People with higher energy burdens are less resilient to climate change because they have fewer resources to adapt to extreme temperatures.”

Republicans Might Ignore Flint’s Poisonous Water, But Millennials Won’t. 
January 20, 2016. By Daniel J. McGraw

“Millennials of all races are seeing this as a key issue of how they want the country to move forward,” Tony Reames, a research fellow at the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and the Environment, says. “The Flint water issue is one where citizens’ lives are being devalued based on their race and economic status. Do these citizens really matter, or are they just numbers … on a spreadsheet? That’s the issue younger voters are thinking about.”

The EPA has a plan to protect vulnerable communities. Will it work? 
April 27, 2015. By Brentin Mock

The researchers Dorothy M. Daley and Tony G. Reames provide some recommendations for how to address this problem in their chapter, “Public Participation and Environmental Justice.” They suggest “building agile organizational capacity to partner with state and local governments,” and say it is “imperative to design systematic interventions to allow for clear identification of what works and why when addressing environmental challenges.”

How Environmental Justice Fared in 2014 — and the Outlook for 2015.
December 30, 2014. By Brentin Mock

“In 2015, I look forward to increased dialogue between policymakers, academics, corporate interests, and communities, and meaningful action on the inherent inequalities in climate change mitigation and adaption.”