New Energy Efficiency Business Plans Will Lead to Fewer Benefits for Underserved Communities

New Energy Efficiency Business Plans Will Lead to Fewer Benefits for Underserved Communities

Energy efficiency is about to get less accessible for millions of Californians if the California Public Utilities Commission approves its current Proposed Decision that cuts affordable energy efficiency services to underserved communities. According to Rising Sun Energy Center, the CPUC is undermining its own good intentions to equitably provide energy efficiency to all Californians by unintentionally creating policies that cripple the good work that community-based nonprofits do to bring energy efficiency services and clean energy jobs to low-to-moderate income families, seniors, renters, apartment dwellers, non-native English speakers, residents in disadvantaged communities, and small businesses. Most of the customers that will be affected by this CPUC decision are people of color who…
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Threat to Energy Efficiency and Weatherization Program Could Hurt California’s Resilient Future

Threat to Energy Efficiency and Weatherization Program Could Hurt California’s Resilient Future

Legislators this week started discussions to decide the fate of the Low-Income Weatherization Program (LIWP), a program that brings energy efficiency and utility bill savings to low-income California families. The program, whose funding Gov. Brown proposed eliminating in his proposed budget, is financed through the state’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, which directs money collected from polluters through cap-and-trade and invest it in cleaning the environment and encouraging economic growth within the most vulnerable communities. Eliminating funding for LIWP — a program that brings low-income families #energyefficiency and utliity bill savings — would be a step backwards for California. LIWP provides free or deeply discounted energy efficiency upgrades and solar power…
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Net Neutrality: Greenlining the Internet

Net Neutrality: Greenlining the Internet

Once upon a time, Greenlining hired a Telecommunications and Technology Fellow who thought that “interweb” is an actual word. I was that Fellow and the time, which now seems so long gone, was August 2013. Many of my closest loved ones will attest that I am the last person whom any should rely on for matters of telecommunications (I am rarely reachable by phone) and technology (motion sensor garbage cans make me as happy as watching a magic show). Bewildered for months, I took my initial assignments from my supervisor expecting that I might get fired once he figured out that I was completely inadequate for the job. Thankfully, that…
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The Real Innovation Challenge

In my last post, I discussed Verizon’s failure to help our communities manage illnesses and disabilities. Verizon also claims to be narrowing the digital divide. In both instances, Verizon fails to recognize that the real challenge in our communities is getting everyone connected to high-speed Internet at an affordable price in our homes and at school. The digital divide is closing, but not for people of color and low-income communities. In 2013, the Public Policy Institute of California surveyed adult Californians and found that while 93% of whites use the Internet at least occasionally and 81% have access to Internet at home, only 77% of Latinos use the Internet at…
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This Garbage Can has More Data than You!

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending my very first Greenlining Coalition meeting, hosted by Verizon.  In this meeting, held at Verizon’s very sleek Innovation Center in San Francisco, the Coalition focused on what Verizon is currently doing to invest in communities of color and underserved communities.  After all, people of color are the fastest growing consumers and users of wireless Internet. As the Telecommunications Legal Fellow, I am specifically interested in what big carriers like Verizon are doing to bridge the widening digital divide that has afflicted my communities.  Having seen Verizon’s lack of interest in providing affordable, quality wireless service to unserved and underserved communities, it was not…
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Landline to VoIP: Should we have a “Separate but Equal” Standard for Phone Calls?

Landline to VoIP: Should we have a “Separate but Equal” Standard for Phone Calls?

Do you have a landline?  Do you know what a landline is?  If your answer to either question is no, don’t feel too bad because you are not alone.  In fact you might be part of the majority of phone subscribers in the U.S.  Because of this, you probably have no idea that a battle—yes, I said battle—is happening right now that will decide the future of the old-fashioned landline telephone.  This battle concerns all consumers of telephone services—landline AND digital. Telecommunication carriers are vehemently insisting that the FCC allow them to discontinue the analog system and transfer all of their analog customers to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) or…
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