The 2010-2011 Committee Against Utility Shutoffs (CAUS)

Chairman of Workers Inquiry condemns privatization of Detroit public lighting system

By our reporter, 18 December 2013

Lawrence Porter, the chairman of the Workers Inquiry into the Attack on the DIA and the Bankruptcy of Detroit, condemned the handover of the city’s public lighting system to utility giant DTE Energy.

On-the-spot report

House fire caused by utility shutoff kills three young children in the Bronx

By our reporters, 28 October 2013

The callousness and profit interests of Consolidated Edison led to the deaths in the Highbridge section of New York City’s poorest borough.

Ruth Keedy Benjamin (June 4, 1947—June 29, 2012)

18 July 2012

On June 29, Ruth Keedy Benjamin, a member of the American Trotskyist movement for over 40 years, succumbed to pancreatic cancer.

Michigan Sierra Club: 200,000 DTE Energy shutoffs in 2011

By Lawrence Porter and Shannon Jones, 16 April 2012

The Michigan Sierra Club reports that DTE Energy shut off nearly 200,000 customers in 2011.

CAUS meeting endorses SEP presidential campaign

By Shannon Jones, 13 March 2012

Supporters of the Committee Against Utility Shutoffs voted to endorse the SEP campaign of Jerry White for president and Phyllis Scherrer for vice president at its monthly meeting in Detroit last week.

Detroit and Obama’s “recovery”

Utility shutoffs soar amidst mass poverty in Michigan

By Lawrence Porter, 16 February 2012

An analysis of data by the World Socialist Web Site shows that utility shutoffs in southeast Michigan increased by nearly two and a half times between 2007 and 2011.

Detroit residents speak out on utility shutoffs

By Lawrence Porter, 16 February 2012

The WSWS spoke to workers at the DTE payment center in Detroit on the experiences they have had with utility shutoffs.

SEP/CAUS public meeting: Oppose Detroit budget cuts!

11 February 2012

The Socialist Equality Party, Committee Against Utility Shutoffs and International Students for Social Equality are holding a public meeting on February 16 to plan and organize a fight back against the latest attack on the jobs, wages and benefits of the working class in Detroit.

SEP and CAUS hold meeting to oppose Detroit budget cuts

By Shannon Jones, 19 December 2011

The Socialist Equality Party and the Committee Against Utility Shutoffs held a public meeting December 17 in Detroit to begin the political fight back against the attack on the working class, in the Detroit area and throughout Michigan.

Detroit mothers speak on wintertime utility shutoffs

By Lawrence Porter and James Brewer, 15 December 2011

Single mothers CC and Ervetta Wilcoxson, both unemployed and facing utility shutoffs, speak to the WSWS.

Oppose all utility shutoffs! Heat and Light are a social right! Join CAUS Today!

By Committee Against Utility Shutoffs (CAUS), 14 November 2011

With the winter season approaching, utility shutoffs will again claim the lives of innocent people and cause widespread suffering. This must be stopped.

DTE Energy turns out the lights on Highland Park, Michigan neighborhoods

By Lawrence Porter and Nancy Hanover, 17 October 2011

The residents of Highland Park, Michigan, have been plunged into darkness after utility pulled the plug as a result of an unpaid $4 million bill.

Michigan child poverty surges

By Debra Watson, 6 October 2011

Nearly one in four Michigan children now officially live in poverty, and half are poor in Detroit.

Northwest Detroit residents continue to fight library closure

By Helen Halyard, 4 October 2011

Northwest Detroit residents held another protest September 29 against threatened library closures in the city.

Michigan: Meeting on power outages exposes DTE Energy negligence

By Shannon Jones, 1 October 2011

A report by representatives of regional power monopoly DTE Energy at city council meeting in Ferndale, Michigan, pointed to widespread neglect by the utility of basic electrical infrastructure.

CAUS holds successful picnic in Detroit

By James Brewer, 12 August 2011

The Committee Against Utility Shutoffs (CAUS) held its first picnic last Saturday at River Rouge Park in Detroit’s west side.

SEP/ISSE holds meeting to oppose closure of Catherine Ferguson Academy

By Shannon Jones, 16 June 2011

The Socialist Equality Party and the International Students for Social Equality held a June 14 meeting in Detroit to oppose the closure of Catherine Ferguson Academy.

Sylvia Young addresses The Fight for Socialism Today conference in Ann Arbor

“CAUS says utilities should be a right, not a luxury”

15 April 2011

Sylvia Young, who lost three small children in a March 2010 house fire that occurred after DTE cut off heat to her home, addressed the conference.

Video: The Committee Against Utility Shutoffs holds demonstration in Detroit

17 March 2011

The CAUS held a demonstration on March 12 to demand an end to utility shutoffs and insist that heat and lights are social rights.

Photo story: The Committee Against Utility Shutoffs holds march in Detroit

15 March 2011

This slideshow presents images of the March 12 demonstration in Detroit, called by the Committee Against Utility Shutoffs (CAUS). Participants marched up Dexter Avenue to demand an end to utility shutoffs.

Demonstration in Detroit demands end to utility shutoffs

By Shannon Jones, 14 March 2011

The Committee Against Utility Shutoffs led a demonstration down Dexter Avenue in Detroit to defend the right of working people to basic utilities.

Lawrence Porter at CAUS rally: “Utilities are a social right!”

14 March 2011

The remarks introducing the CAUS demonstration given by Lawrence Porter, chairman of CAUS and assistant national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party.

Pennsylvania farm family loses seven children to fire

By Phyllis Scherrer and Andrea Peters, 10 March 2011

Late Tuesday evening a fire engulfed the house on a family farm in Pennsylvania, killing seven of eight children.

Video: CAUS holds press conference to announce March 12 demonstration

10 March 2011

On March 4, the Committee Against Utility Shutoffs held a press conference to announce its upcoming demonstration against utility shutoffs in Detroit. The march will be held on Saturday March 12 at 2 PM, assembling at the house where three people were killed in a house fire last year.

CAUS holds press conference to announce March 12 demonstration

By Shannon Jones, 5 March 2011

The Committee Against Utility Shutoffs held a press conference Friday at the Dexter-Elmhurst Center in Detroit announcing a March 12 demonstration against utility shutoffs.

Detroit-area community issues layoff notices to entire fire department

By James Brewer, 4 March 2011

In late February, the entire fire department of Allen Park, Michigan received word that it might be out of work due to a $663,000 budget shortfall.

Detroiters speak out on DTE’s phony “customer assistance”

By Debra Watson, 22 February 2011

In the weeks after DTE Energy’s December Customer Assistance Day, members of the Committee Against Utility Shutoffs spoke to several Detroiters who had sought assistance.

DTE Energy 2010 profits soar as utility shutoffs increase

By Debra Watson, 22 February 2011

Last week the Detroit-based utility giant, DTE Energy, reported a record $630 million in profit for 2010.

Victim of DTE utility shutoff

Video: Wanda Scott tells her story

12 February 2011

Last month Michigan authorities broke into Wanda Scott's home and took away her elderly father, claiming she was neglectful because she could not afford to heat her home. In this video, she speaks about life without heat, the experience of losing her father, and why she is a member of the Committee Against Utility Shutoffs.

Detroit house fire injures five

By Lawrence Porter, 26 January 2011

Early Monday morning, fire destroyed a home on the west side of Detroit where both the gas and electricity had been shut off.

CAUS votes to hold Detroit march against utility shutoffs

By our reporter, 19 January 2011

On January 13, the Committee Against Utility Shutoffs (CAUS) voted to hold a demonstration against the shutoff policies of the local utility conglomerate DTE Energy.

Video on the anniversary of the Dexter Avenue fire

12 January 2011

The WSWS interviews Charlotte Nash, sister of Marvin and Tyrone Allen, who were killed in the horrific fire in their Detroit home on Dexter Avenue one year ago. They had been living without utilities since 2008.

CAUS meeting discusses the political issues behind utility shutoffs

By James Brewer, 18 December 2010

A recent meeting of the Committee Against Utility Shutoffs led to a lively discussion of the political questions raised by DTE’s shutoff policy and government backing for the company.

Thousands seek help in Detroit with winter utility payments

By Jerry White, 14 December 2010

Several thousand Detroiters who are behind on their utility bills, and many who have already lost service, attended a Customer Assistance Day on Monday.

End all utility shutoffs! Electricity and gas must be social rights

By Committee Against Utility Shutoffs, 13 December 2010

Today’s “Energy Customer Assistance Day” has nothing to do with guaranteeing the basic right of all residents to gas and electricity. It is a public relations stunt by DTE and the city government.

State regulatory agency defends role of utility giant in Detroit fires

By James Brewer, 7 December 2010

The Michigan Public Services Commission has released its report on the September 7 fires that ravaged Detroit, defending the actions of DTE.

Media campaigns against “energy theft” at start of heating season

By Andrea Peters, 24 November 2010

With winter heating season in Michigan now underway, the media has stepped up its coverage of “energy theft” in Detroit.

Detroit town hall meeting on utilities offers residents no help

By Lawrence Porter, 12 November 2010

A series of meetings town hall meetings billed as means of helping Detroit residents with their utility bills were a public relations stunt.

Utilities must be a social right!

By of D’Artagnan Collier and Socialist Equality Party candidate for Michigan legislature, 2 October 2010

This statement has been issued by D’Artagnan Collier, the Socialist Equality Party’s candidate for Michigan House of Representatives (9th District) and a founding member of the Committee Against Utility Shutoffs.

Detroit residents blame DTE Energy for September 7 fires at regulatory hearing

By Lawrence Porter, 1 October 2010

Angry Detroit residents denounced the administration of Detroit Mayor David Bing and utility monopoly DTE energy for the devastating September 7 fires that swept through the city.

CAUS holds meeting on Detroit fires

By Andrea Peters, 24 September 2010

At a meeting held on Detroit’s east side, area residents and CAUS members engaged in a lively discussion about what caused the 85 fires that recently broke out across Detroit.

Public meetings: The social and political roots of the Detroit fires

21 September 2010

The Committee Against Utility Shutoffs and the Socialist Equality Party are hosting these public meetings in Detroit to review the causes of a series of fires that spread through Detroit earlier this month.

A program to rebuild, not downsize Detroit

By D’Artagnan Collier and SEP Candidate for Michigan House Representatives, 16 September 2010

The following statement is being distributed at a series of meetings on Detroit Mayor David Bing’s plans to restructure and downsize the city.

Committee Against Utility Shutoffs and SEP hold press conference on Detroit fires

15 September 2010

On Friday, September 10, the Committee Against Utility Shutoffs and the Socialist Equality Party held a press conference to address a series of fires that ravaged Detroit earlier in the week. Speaking were CAUS and SEP members Lawrence Porter and D'Artagnan Collier, as well as residents of the area.

DTE, Detroit authorities launch legal vendetta against “energy thieves”

By Jerry White, 15 September 2010

Prosecutors in Detroit, operating on behalf of DTE Energy, are accusing a local landlord and his handyman of illegally restoring heat and electricity to tenants whose service was cut off by the utility company.

Victim of Detroit fires: “DTE is to blame”

By Lawrence Porter, 14 September 2010

A resident on Detroit’s west side says that the fires that swept through his neighborhood were the result of a fallen transformer and DTE neglect.

Committee Against Utility Shutoffs and SEP hold press conference on Detroit fires

By our reporter, 11 September 2010

Detroit residents and members of the Socialist Equality Party and the Committee Against Utility Shutoffs denounced the Detroit city government and energy company DTE for their role in a wave of house fires.

Another utility worker killed in Detroit

By Lawrence Porter, 27 August 2010

Veteran utility worker Michael Parks was electrocuted and killed while repairing a power line August 24.

CAUS denounces new Michigan “energy theft” law, endorses D’Artagnan Collier campaign

By a reporter, 4 August 2010

D’Artagnan Collier, Socialist Equality Party candidate for the Michigan House of Representatives, addressed a meeting of the Committee Against Utility Shutoffs (CAUS) July 29.

DTE reports increased profits in second quarter

By Shannon Jones and Dwight Stoll, 3 August 2010

Michigan-based DTE Energy is reporting higher profits and raising its dividend payout to shareholders as it prepares to ramp up shut-offs in the wake of the passage of “energy theft” legislation.

CAUS campaigns among striking tree trimmers

Sylvia Young visits DTE contractors’ picket line

By Jerry White, 28 June 2010

Sylvia Young, who lost three children in a Detroit house fire earlier this year after DTE Energy cut off heat to her home, visited the picket line of tree trimmers locked out by DTE.

For public ownership of DTE Energy

By Jerry White, 12 June 2010

An article written by the president of the Utility Workers Union raises the question of transforming DTE Energy into a publicly owned utility.

Report: DTE used spy planes to spot unauthorized hookups

By Debra Watson and Shannon Jones, 8 June 2010

A report indicates DTE used high-tech aerial surveillance to spot unauthorized hookups as it ramped up its campaign of utility shutoffs.

96 percent vote in favor at Detroit area mass meeting

DTE Energy workers authorize strike

By Jerry White, 3 June 2010

Thousands of workers employed by DTE Energy voted by a 96 percent margin to authorize a strike against the utility giant at a mass meeting Tuesday evening in the Detroit area.

An appeal to DTE workers

By Committee Against Utility Shutoffs (CAUS), 2 June 2010

The Committee Against Utility Shutoffs calls on DTE employees to refuse to shut off utilities to Detroit residents. CAUS members and supporters distributed this letter to DTE workers on Tuesday.

CAUS campaign continues

The profit motive and utility shutoffs

By Andrea Peters, 28 May 2010

In this comment, the Committee Against Utility Shutoffs (CAUS) explains why the provision of electricity and gas on the basis of private profit can neither guarantee essential services nor ensure that workers in the utility industry have jobs and a decent standard of living.

CAUS denounces police murder of Aiyana Jones

By Committee Against Utility Shutoffs (CAUS), 19 May 2010

The Committee Against Utility Shutoffs condemns the police murder of seven-year-old Aiyana Jones and demands that all those responsible for her death be held legally responsible

Two men perish in Detroit house fire

By Andrea Peters and James Brewer, 14 May 2010

Two men died in a fire in southwest Detroit on Thursday morning at a home that may have been without utilities.

DTE Energy holds another public relations stunt in Taylor, Michigan

By a reporting team, 13 May 2010

Supporters of the Committee Against Utility Shutoffs distributed the “Findings of the Citizens Inquiry into the Dexter Avenue Fire: Utility Shutoffs and the Social Crisis in Detroit” to people attending a local community event in hopes of getting help with their DTE utility bills.

Committee Against Utility Shutoffs launches campaign

By Jerry White, 6 May 2010

The Committee Against Utility Shutoffs (CAUS), which was formed at a meeting of workers and youth in Detroit last week, launched its campaign Wednesday morning by appealing to workers at DTE Energy to refuse to disconnect service.

An appeal to DTE workers

By Committee Against Utility Shutoffs (CAUS), 5 May 2010

On April 29, workers and young people at a Detroit meeting initiated by the SEP voted to establish the Committee Against Utility Shutoffs (CAUS). The committee issued a statement appealing to workers at DTE Energy to refuse instructions to shut off gas and electric service to working class families. (Download in PDF.)

Detroit meeting indicts DTE in fatal house fires

Committee formed to broaden struggle against shutoffs

By Tom Eley, 15 April 2010

At the report-back meeting of the Citizens Inquiry into the Dexter Avenue Fire, Detroit residents voted unanimously in favor of the committee’s findings, and established a committee to advance the struggle against utility shutoffs.