Citizen Utility Boards inspired by university model

In several countries today, utilities (electricity, gas,water, telco) are still government controlled or either managed as a  monopoly or duopoly.

Customers in such cases are always at the receiving end as they don’t have any forums to present their views. Most of the customer forums set up by government are either unresponsive or too slow in resolving the issues.

Ralph Nader a famous social activist in US wanted to do something about it. His persistent efforts led to the establishment of Citizen Utility Board (CUB).

Citizen Utility Board is a model which tends to provide clear voice to the customers and ensure they have a say in all key matters related to utilities. This model was a brainchild of Ralph Nader and is very popular in US.

How did Ralph Nader conceive this idea?

Part of the challenge that Nader and his early associates faced was inventing organizational models for citizen action that could be both financially viable and politically effective. A question very much on Nader’s mind in the early 1970s as he toured dozens of college campuses was how to devise a hardy, replicable model of citizen action in lines of student movements.

They realised they need to replicate and strengthen the principles they found working in student activism movements and take it to citizen groups. They started hiring coaches to teach activism skills. Slowly public interest research groups got started all across US and slowly gave rise to Citzen Utility boards.

CUBs in many states in US have a leading role to play in influencing policy decisions, driving community change and representing consumer voice with governments and large corporations.

For example, In Illinois, EDF worked with a customer-advocacy group called Citizens Utility Board to develop our Open Data Access Framework that’s now been adopted by state regulators and local utilities. Energy entrepreneurs like Nest and Google plan to use this data transparency to help customers save energy and money. And EDF is working to replicate the framework in other key states.

ResonVate Thought
Student unions and activism inspires to set up citizen utility boards.

I would like to ResonVate
with ideas on people in the forefront, for the common good
which can be applied in improving voice of customers, quality of service,stakeholder engagement
in areas like Banking, Government , Helathcare, Retail & FMCG


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