Because electric and gas services are essential to life, they must be safe, reliable, and affordable for everyone. Companies that provide these necessities must serve all customers equally, regardless of race and income. All customers should have access to measures that help them lower their electric bills. In addition, utility companies should promote economic development by investing in projects that benefit all ratepayers, especially communities of color, and create good jobs here in California.
Too many California households and small businesses struggle to afford gas and electricity.
Programs that assist low-income utility customers provide some help, but not nearly enough. These problems are compounded for customers with limited ability to speak and read English. Energy costs for California small businesses are the twelfth highest in the nation, hampering job-creation and growth.
Greenlining gives communities of color a voice on major energy issues in California. We
intervene at the California Public Utilities Commission and engage utility companies directly on energy issues facing communities of color.
- Defending Energy Consumers – Greenlining acts as a voice for communities of color, advocating for our communities in regulatory proceedings and direct discussions with the utilities. We’ve won new protections for low-income customers and small businesses and blunted attempts to raise utility rates for those who can least afford them. In 2012, we won a landmark agreement under which, starting in 2013, Pacific Gas and Electric will become the first California utility to offer billing in Spanish or Chinese for customers who request it.
- Utility Supplier Diversity – Greenlining is a strong advocate for programs that encourage large companies to do business with minority small businesses. The CPUC’s supplier diversity program, governed by General Order 156, represents an outstanding model. Greenlining monitors the impact of this program, issuing an updated report every spring, and works to expand the use of the GO 156 model in other fields as a way of bringing investments to communities of color.
- Energy Efficiency – We work to make sure a fair share of the California Public Utilities Commission’s $1 billion annual investment in energy efficiency dollars is used for effective programs that provide access to pathways out of poverty, career-path jobs and real energy savings for our communities, through programs like the Energy Savings Assistance Program. We helped develop on-bill financing programs that help families — including low- and moderate-income families — to access energy efficiency programs.