The Fair Energy Rate Action Fund (FERAF)
In 2009, Missouri utilities proposed energy rate increase that, if enacted, would pose great hardships on Missouri residents and small businesses. In the face of this threat, Terra Strategies brought together stakeholders large and small to create a unified front. Consumer groups, local businesses and trade associations with varying interests and from across the political spectrum joined together to create the Fair Energy Action Fund (FERAF).
FERAF used grasstops and grassroots persuasion tactics to urge leaders in Missouri's legislature and state regulatory bodies to stop the big utilities' plan. The message was simple: lawmakers would have to choose to support "big energy" or the everyday families who helped elect them to office.
The FERAF program consisted of both extensive canvassing and ensuring that regulators heard the peoples' voice during the public hearing process. In the days before scheduled public hearing dates in communities across the state, Terra led targeted canvasses in the community, distributing information about the hearings as well as factual information about the potential rate increases.
As supporters were identified, Terra's field organizers developed personal relationships and encouraged them to attend the public hearings. In many cases, these very supporters would then provide their own unique testimony about how the rate increase would affect their family or business. Other attendees were asked to participate in a variety of other activities such as contacting their legislator by phone, or writing a letter to the editor of their local newspaper.
Missouri legislators and regulators got the message. They responded by rejecting big energy's rate increase. Since 2009, this coalition has stuck together, using these proven tactics to continue to battle rate increases and ensure that Missourians have a seat at the table.