Lacy MacAuley

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a home for my pen, projects, and passions

pepco has been “fossil fooled”

The Greenwash Guerillas strike again! On April Fools Day, we played a fun prank on Washington DC’s main energy provider, Pepco.

In the wee hours of the morning on April 1, we stuck fake Pepco customer letters on thousands of doors. The letters said that “Pepco is going green,” and promised that Pepco would switch to 100% wind and solar energy by 2020. It further announced that Pepco would be canceling proposed rate hikes, and instructed customers that they should contact Pepco’s customer service line to see if they qualify for a “renewable energy rate discount.”

Then we sent out a fake press release with the phony URL www.pepco-green.com. (Some very talented folks were able to create a mock-up website that looked almost identical to Pepco’s.) We also had our own “go phone” number listed as the number for the real-world Pepco press contact. Very early yesterday morning, we called TV and radio news desks with the news that “Pepco is going green.” Local Fox figured out our hoax and picked it up with the headline “Pepco Victim of April Fools Day Hoax.” Then we called friends at Washington Post and gave them the exclusive story that listed the group’s name “Greenwash Guerillas” and gave other details that no other outlet had. The Post ran a wonderful story on it that afternoon.

David Fahrentold of the Washington Post writes:

…Pepco put out a statement saying that the letter and the Web site were fake.

“We have been alerted that a bogus Web site and other false communications posing as Pepco were issued today. This bogus Web site is not secure and does not represent Pepco,” Pepco said on its Web site.

“Some folks really did a good job,” Pepco spokesman Clay Anderson said this morning. “But it ain’t us.”

Fahrenthold quoted me in his article as well:

A group called the Greenwash Guerrillas claimed responsibility for the hoax. Lacy MacAuley, a spokeswoman for the group, said the group has about 40 members and is a year old.

MacAuley said that the group had placed about 3,000 letters around Washington and suburban Maryland. She called it “greenwash guerrilla warfare,” against people identified as “perpetrators,” promoting policies that worsen climate change.

What a fun prank. Afterwards we did a victory lap to celebrate, a mobile dance party through Adams Morgan and down U Street with about thirty beautiful dancing people. Then we danced into the distance… but the Greenwash Guerillas will return next April Fools Day to prank the fossil fuel industry, I promise.

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Filed under: activism, climate justice, consumerism, environmentalism, global justice, humor, lacy's life, media, thoughts and philosophies

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