Metro Councilwoman Sharon Hurt unpacks the true meaning behind the “Power of Change”

Metro Councilwoman Sharon Hurt is in full support of Nashville Electric Service’s (NES) new “Power of Change” program, a new opt-out program that will round up all customer accounts to the nearest dollar beginning January 1, 2022. The rounded up difference will go towards NES’ Home Uplift Program, which helps customers afford energy upgrades needed for their homes, improving their overall quality of life. NES recently sat down with Sharon Hurt and discussed the importance of the Power of Change program to the city of Nashville and so many of its residents. Here’s what she had to say:

Why do you think the campaign is so important?

I think the campaign is so important because it will benefit so many people. This program is exactly who Nashville is. When people are in need, we answer the call as a community. Power of Change is one of those opportunities to answer the call for those who need it the most. The best of us have to help the rest of us!

What do you want to say to people who don’t think this is good for everybody?

They have to change their perspective. I have an aunt who is close to 90 years old who has benefitted from a similar program implemented in Memphis. She lives on a fixed income in a home she bought 40 years ago, and it really needed improvements. They made those upgrades to her home and the process was painless. The extra change is so much more than a donation, it’s a gift. Most people — especially people of color — have worked their entire lives just to be able to purchase a home. We’ve had so many problems with home affordability and redlining throughout the U.S., and people haven’t had the ability to purchase a home, much less afford the renovations needed to sustain a good quality of life.

Explain how the Power of Change saves families money.

It could have saved my father a lot of money. My father passed in 2015, and before he died, he paid for renovations to be done to his home. Those same renovations would have been free had the Power of Change existed then. My siblings and I are still paying for the renovations he had done 10-15 years ago, but with help from the Power of Change, fewer families would have to experience that.

Can you talk about how the Power of Change can help people age in place, personally?

My 70-year-old sister still lives in our father’s home, but our father left his home to all of his children. Because she’s older, we’re in the process of getting the home placed in her name so that she can receive Home Uplift assistance that will be funded by Power of Change benefits. Overall, the process has taken time, but it’s a great gift to be able to give to her.

For a program like the Power of Change, do you think it’s important for other leaders to support it?

Absolutely. You lead by example. The best PR is word of mouth. People need to hear from someone they trust because they may not know about the program, haven’t heard about it, or are unsure. I may need to benefit from the Power of Change one day, so I’m definitely supporting it. You put things in place to take care of people. It’s the same concept that other organizations have adopted. Take Second Harvest Food Bank for example. They keep food stored to feed the hungry. I really think it’s a privilege for me to be able to share a program as great as the Power of Change because I do believe that there is power in this change. Literally!

Talk a little bit about how this program promotes a sense of community.

Often times people don’t offer help until a catastrophe occurs. With the Power of Change, people have the opportunity to give a gift to others and lend a helping hand before things get worse.

Can you explain how a little change will go a long way?

The most a customer who opts-in to the Power of Change will give is $11.88 total per year. We spend that every day without even thinking. Opting in will help keep families in their homes while increasing the value of those homes, with just a little bit of your change.

In one word, describe the Power of Change.

Meaningful. The Power of Change is one of those things that is beneficial to whomever participates in it. It is meaningful both for those who receive and for those who give. In the long run, you’re helping increase generational wealth, whether it’s the next generation or the next three. It’s meaningful to play a part in changing generations by giving so little. It’s meaningful because in the city of Nashville, there are people with hearts who want to do for others. To know that there is a program that helps people improve their homes to lower their electricity bills, making them less prone to disconnections from nonpayment, is meaningful on so many levels.

To determine if you’re eligible for Home Uplift Assistance, click here.