PG&E, Diverse Coalition Propose Huge Boost in EV Charging Stations in Underserved Communities

PG&E, Diverse Coalition Propose Huge Boost in EV Charging Stations in Underserved Communities
Settlement Proposal Will Increase Access to Clean Transport in Low-Income Communities

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)

SAN FRANCISCO – The Greenlining Institute and a coalition of diverse groups representing electric vehicle service providers, environmentalists, electric vehicle drivers, automakers, community choice aggregators, and labor unions joined with Pacific Gas and Electric yesterday to submit a proposed settlement to the California Public Utilities Commission for a three-year pilot program to accelerate deployment of electric vehicle charging stations.  Advocates expect the program to boost EV adoption in low-income communities and communities of color by making charging facilities accessible in these communities.

“With this settlement, PG&E becomes a national leader in increasing access to EV charging in low-income communities and communities of color, the communities that most need the clean air and cost savings from electric cars,” said Joel Espino, Environmental Equity Legal Counsel at the Greenlining Institute. “We commend PG&E’s commitment to making clean electric cars a reality for Californians of all income levels. This will add to progress already made by policies like the Charge Ahead California Initiative in making clean transportation available to all, regardless of income or ZIP code.”

Key elements of the settlement, which still must be approved by the CPUC, include:

  • The pilot program will target a deployment of 7,500 level 2 charging ports and 100 DC fast chargers.
  • Charging stations will be deployed at multi-unit dwellings, workplaces, and destination locations such as shopping centers.
  • The total budget is not to exceed $160M and the cost to a typical residential customer would be approximately $2.64 per year at its maximum, four percent less than the $2.75 maximum single year cost approved in January in the San Diego Gas & Electric EV charging infrastructure pilot program, and that’s before accounting for lower rates resulting from the electrical grid benefits of plugging in EVs.
  • PG&E will set aside $5 million for equity programs aimed at complementing Charge Ahead California Initiative (SB 1275, De León) programs and further increasing access to EVs in low-income communities and communities of color.
  • PG&E will deploy at least 15 percent of its charging stations in the most disadvantaged communities in PG&E’s service territory. In addition, the company agrees to a stretch goal of deploying an additional five percent of charging stations in the most disadvantaged communities in its territory or other areas with a high concentration of low-income CARE (California Alternate Rates for Energy Program) customers.

The full text of the proposed settlement can be downloaded here. For additional background on the connections between electric vehicles, California climate efforts, low-income communities and the Charge Ahead California Initiative, see Joel Espino’s blog post.

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New Video, Updated Mapping Tool Show Impact of California’s Climate Investments

A Place to Call Home reveals climate program’s benefits

WEST SACRAMENTO — Billions of dollars of climate investments are flowing to California’s communities, but what does that really look like? A new video and updated mapping tool help show us.

The video, co-produced by TransForm and The Greenlining Institute, provides a glimpse of how California’s climate investments can transform the lives of real people – like West Sacramento resident Esther Robert and her family. In tandem with this video, a newly revised and updated version of TransForm’s ClimateBenefitsCA.org lets you easily search where these dollars are going and what they accomplish. A written version of Esther’s story is featured on UpLift California, created by Greenlining to highlight how California climate policies benefit underserved neighborhoods and communities of color.

The video A Place to Call Home features Esther, who lives with her four children in an affordable apartment complex in West Sacramento.  Without the guaranteed below-market rent, she says, “I would probably be living with all of us in a studio apartment in some place I don’t want to be, just because that’s the only place I could afford to keep something over my head.”

Esther’s story is not unique: California’s communities face a huge housing affordability crisis, forcing working families to choose between spending more than half their income on housing, squeezing into inadequate or unsafe homes, or moving out of their communities.

California’s climate program is helping solve this crisis at the same time as it cleans the air and reduces greenhouse gases. Two essential laws, AB 32 and SB 535, enabled the program to charge polluters for carbon emissions, generating major funding for diverse programs including the development of affordable homes near transit. West Gateway Place in West Sacramento received over $6.7 million in climate investments, and will provide 77 units of affordable homes to residents.

“Creating affordable places to live near public transportation is a highly effective strategy for reducing climate pollution,” said Ryan Wiggins, Climate Policy Manager with TransForm. “Lower-income households living near transit drive less than half as many miles as wealthier households.  Creating 15,000 new affordable homes near good public transportation would keep over one and a half million metric tons of greenhouse gases from polluting our air.”

Because of these dual benefits, environmental justice advocates strongly support using money from California’s climate program to build affordable housing near public transit throughout the state. In addition to West Gateway Place, slated to open this coming fall, over 30 projects received climate funds this year, in cities ranging from Stockton to San Diego, from Richmond to Riverside.

And that’s just one of the many ways the program is funneling climate funds to communities throughout the state.  The impact has run into the billions of dollars in the first year alone, investing in over 400 projects to make our climate healthier while strengthening our communities.

“California’s climate investments are improving people’s lives,” said Greenlining Institute Environmental Equity Director Alvaro Sanchez.  “We’re not just tackling climate change, we’re bringing real help to communities that have historically been left out of economic prosperity or saddled with the worst pollution: affordable homes like Esther’s, better transportation choices, cost-cutting home weatherization, and much more.”

“California’s climate program remains under constant attack by the oil industry, which has spent millions of dollars to try to kill it,” said Wiggins.  “But our climate policies make a real and positive impact on people’s lives, helping people like Esther have safe, affordable homes while cleaning the air we all breathe.”

Visit www.ClimateBenefitsCA.org to search for climate investments throughout California, and see the benefits for yourself.

For more stories on how these investments are transforming people’s lives across California, visit www.UpLiftCA.org.

Watch the video “A Place to Call Home.”

New Report on Home Mortgages: Are Black & Latino Californians Locked Out of the Market?

Study Highlights Fresno, Long Beach, Oakland

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)

BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA – A new analysis of federal home mortgage data finds a shockingly low level of lending to African American and Hispanic/Latino borrowers, both statewide and in three cities examined in detail: Fresno, Long Beach and Oakland. The report, Locked Out of the Market: Poor Access to Home Loans for Californians of Color, was prepared by The Greenlining Institute and Urban Strategies Council using lending data from 2013. Journalists can preview the report, to be released Wednesday, Feb. 24, by clicking the link above.

Key findings include:

  • Statewide, African Americans and Latinos were far less likely to apply for or receive home mortgages than would be expected based on their percentage of the population, and lagged even farther behind in total dollars lent. Blacks and Latinos combined represent 44 percent of California’s population, but received just 10.6 percent of home mortgage dollars.
  • Despite being comparable in population to Fresno and Long Beach, Oakland had less than one quarter as many loan applications and originations as those cities. Oakland blacks and Hispanics, representing 56 percent of the population, received just 10 percent of mortgage dollars lent. The top 12 lenders financed only four Oakland home purchases for African American buyers and just seven for Hispanics.
  • Fresno had the highest lending volume of the three cities, but again Latinos and African Americans lagged behind their share of the population. Latinos represent 48 percent of Fresno’s people, but got just 21 percent of mortgages. For blacks the figures were eight percent and three percent.
  • Long Beach was the only city in which Asians lagged behind their population share in both applications and originations. Whites in Long Beach were the only group that exceeded their population share.
  • Incomplete data hampered the researchers, with over 15 percent of applications missing race/ethnicity data. Because all Asians and Pacific Islanders are lumped into one category, potentially significant differences between Asian ethnic groups cannot be identified.

“Unfortunately, the federal data can’t tell us why black and Latino borrowers are so underrepresented, but the fact that these families are effectively shut out of the home mortgage market should set off alarms,” said lead author Zach Murray, Greenlining Institute Economic Equity program manager. “It’s time to ask whether banks are doing enough to reach African American and Latino borrowers with loan products that meet their needs and help them gain the benefits of homeownership.”

“Our analysis revealed several major concerns regarding the home mortgage market,” said Urban Strategies Council Research and Technology Director Steve Spiker. “We found that applications from, and loans to, black and brown communities were much lower than would be expected given their share of the population, and that too often applicants’ race, ethnicity and income data are either not collected or submitted by lending institutions.”

Greenlining’s Alvaro Sanchez to Testify Weds. at CA Legislative Hearing on Climate

Hearing to Explore AB 32 Implementation & Community Impacts in Light of Paris Accords

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)

SACRAMENTO – Greenlining Institute Environmental Equity Director Alvaro Sanchez, California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols and other top officials will speak Wednesday morning at a joint legislative hearing on implementation of California climate change policy. The hearing, titled “Thinking Globally, Acting Locally: The Paris Climate Accord and What it Means for California’s Climate Investments,” will be chaired by Sen. Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) and Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills).

Sanchez, a leading advocate for policies designed to ensure that state climate change efforts bring jobs, investment and cleaner air to California’s most underserved communities, will address environmental justice issues. Last year, Sanchez authored a landmark reportexamining initial impacts of AB 32 and SB 535, a Greenlining Institute-sponsored law requiring that at least one quarter of funds raised by carbon auctions under the cap-and-trade program must go to projects benefiting disadvantaged communities.

To explain the benefits of these policies and illustrate their impact on California neighborhoods, The Greenlining Institute createdUpliftCA.org (English) and es.UpLiftCA.org (Spanish).

WHAT: Joint hearing of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee and the Select Committee on Climate Change and AB 32 Implementation

WHO: Senators Fran Pavley, Bob Wieckowski and other legislators; CARB Chair Mary Nichols; California EPA Secretary Matt Rodriguez; Greenlining Institute Environmental Equity Director Alvaro Sanchez; other leading officials and advocates.

WHERE: California State Capitol, Room 112

WHEN: Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, 9:30 a.m.

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THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE
A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute

greenlining.org

We’re Far From Post-Racial

Friends and allies,

Our country is far from post-racial. We continue to see racial disparities in homeownership and wealth, lack of racial diversity in tech, increased presence of hate groups, and more. However, we are more energized than ever to work towards equity. Join us and read some of our new and continuing efforts to build a nation where communities of color thrive and race is never a barrier to economic opportunity.

If you get the chance, read my newest op-ed on the tech industry and inequality and don’t forget to register for our 2016 Economic Summit — the early registration deadline is coming up.

– Orson (@OrsonGLI)

New Report Shows Blacks & Latinos Have Low Access to Mortgage Loans

America’s top banks gave Oakland’s Black borrowers just four home loans in 2013.

New Video, Updated Mapping Tool Show Impact of California’s Climate Investments

Can affordable housing clean the air? The answer may surprise you.

Making Youth More Engaged Citizens

We supported an effort to lower the voting age to 16 for school board elections.

Internet Access is a Necessity, Not a Luxury

Support providing high-quality broadband to households that cannot otherwise afford it.

California Public Utilities Commission Approves San Diego Gas & Electric’s Innovative “Vehicle-Grid Integration” Program

Contact:

Lauren Lantry (202) 548-6599 lauren.lantry@sierraclub.org

San Francisco — Yesterday, the California Public Utilities Commission voted to approve San Diego Gas & Electric’s innovative “Vehicle-Grid Integration” program. Under the program, SDG&E will deploy 3,500 charging stations in the San Diego area, and, through special “dynamic pricing,” encourage charging during off-peak hours or when renewable energy is abundant–maximizing fuel cost savings for EV drivers.

The favorable decision for SDG&E’s $45 million project comes just two weeks after the Commission approved the pilot phase of Southern California Edison’s “Charge Ready” program – a plan to deploy 1,500 charging stations within its service territory. In the second phase, SCE aims to deploy another 28,500 stations. Together, these programs mark important steps forward at a critical time for the electric vehicle market in the state, where Governor Brown has set a goal to deploy infrastructure to support 1 million electric vehicles by 2020 and to have 1.5 million on California’s roads by 2025.

“With this decision, California continues to speed ahead in the all-important race to power our vehicles with clean electricity,” said Joe Halso, Sierra Club attorney. “We applaud the California Public Utilities Commission and all involved for crafting and approving a program that works for the environment, public health, and all San Diego electricity users.”

Through strong vehicle-grid integration, SDG&E’s program should unlock economic benefits for all utility customers. The added utility revenue generated by use of spare system capacity puts downward pressure on utility rates to the benefit of all utility customers. By using EV load to absorb renewable energy, thereby matching demand with generation, the program lowers the costs of complying with state’s 50 percent Renewable Portfolio Standard.

“Plugging in electric cars to soak up the sunshine in San Diego benefits everyone. Now all we need is more convertibles with plugs,” said Max Baumhefner, Natural Resources Defense Council attorney.

Both the “Vehicle Grid Integration Program” and “Charge Up” plan to deploy stations at sites where there is currently a lack of charging infrastructure, in particular workplaces and multi-unit dwellings, like apartment complexes. The “Vehicle Grid Integration Program” will also deploy 10 percent of stations in disadvantaged communities in SDG&E’s territory, improving access to clean transportation options for those often exposed to greater levels of harmful air pollution.  

The proposal approved yesterday is based on a settlement agreement supported by SDG&E and 17 organizations, including the Sierra Club, National Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense Fund, The Greenlining Institute, consumer groups, EV drivers, automakers, EV charging companies, and labor unions.

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Public Interest Groups to Speak Out in California Against Massive Cable Merger

Contact Info:

Timothy Karr, 201-533-8838

LOS ANGELES — A coalition of media justice, Internet rights and public interest groups will testify Tuesday before the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in opposition to Charter Communications’ proposed $67 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks.

The groups opposing the merger include the Center for Media Justice, Common Cause, Courage Campaign, Free Press, the Greenlining Institute, Media Alliance and the National Hispanic Media Coalition.

Hundreds of thousands of people across the country have already spoken out against the deal. During today’s hearing at CPUC’s office in Los Angeles, CPUC commissioners and an administrative law judge will hear testimony from members of the public. The commissioners will vote to approve, modify or reject the merger proposal at a later date. The Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department are also vetting the merger.

The deal would create a virtual cable duopoly over broadband access and pay-video services. If the merger goes through, just two Internet service providers, Charter and Comcast, would control two out of every three of the nation’s high-speed Internet subscriptions. For many Californians, the merged company would be the only available choice for cable and broadband services.

The following statements can be attributed to spokespeople for the groups opposing the merger:

“For people of color, media consolidation is at the heart of the reason why there are few diverse voices in the content we consume,” said Center for Media Justice Senior Campaign Manager Steven Renderos. “Allowing Charter to absorb the two biggest media markets, New York City and Los Angeles, in two of the most diverse cities in the United States is plain irresponsible. Promises of greater diversity on the airwaves and in the workforce always precede large mergers like this one, yet by all metrics, communities of color still continue to lack fair representation.”

“Allowing two of America’s biggest cable companies to combine fails the most basic test: It does nothing to advance the public interest,” said Common Cause Program Director Todd O’Boyle. “Post-merger consumers would still lack choice. Programming diversity  would decline. And over-the-top innovation would suffer. The CPUC should do the right thing and reject this proposal.”

“The Charter-Time Warner Cable merger would be one of the most damaging corporate takeovers in our nation’s history — leaving millions of consumers in California and across the country with skyrocketing rates, fewer options, and even worse service,” said Courage Campaign Executive Director Eddie Kurtz. “Courage Campaign and our over 1.2 million members strongly urge the CPUC and the FCC to have the courage to stand up for consumers and freedom of choice, and to reject this merger without conditions.”

“The last thing California needs is a bigger, more monopoly-minded cable company. But this merger would create just that,” said Free Press Field Director Mary Alice Crim. “There’s no reason for CPUC to sign off on a deal that would lead to higher prices and worse services for Californians. We know that’s exactly what this merger would lead to because of the debt load Charter has agreed to take on to finance this takeover. To pay off such whopping debt, Charter would have to use its expanded market power to raise rates and gouge cash-strapped Californians.”

“California’s economy depends on our communities of color, and if our telecommunications system fails to serve those communities, we’re all in trouble,” said Greenlining Institute Senior Legal Counsel Paul Goodman. “This merger could bring higher prices, slower broadband deployment to communities of color, and less media diversity.”

“The record of increased media concentration is clear: higher prices, worse service and fewer choices for you,” said Tracy Rosenberg of Media Alliance. “Post-merger, Comcast and New Charter would corner the market on high-speed broadband access in California. That’s a duopoly. And it’s not competitive in the least.”

“A merger of this size and scope would grant an unacceptable concentration of power to Charter Communications, a company seemingly unwilling to fully participate in state and federal programs that could improve access to communications services for low-income residents, detail a real plan to hire a workforce that reflects the communities they seek to serve, or carry truly diverse programming for their diverse audience,” said National Hispanic Media Coalition President and CEO Alex Nogales. “It is offensive that Charter expects to expand into Latino households in California and across the country without explaining how it plans to employ more Latinos in the company, bring more Latino-serving networks to its system, or fully participate in existing programs that could soon help bring communities of color online. Whether it’s for school, work, civic participation or simply connection with friends and family, we must urgently work to close the digital divide. A merger between Charter and Time Warner Cable would be an irreversible leap in the wrong direction.”

Tuesday: CPUC to Take Public Comments in L.A. on Charter/Time Warner Cable Merger

Greenlining Institute and Greenlining Coalition Members to Raise Concerns

Contact:
Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)
Paul Goodman, Greenlining Institute Senior Legal Counsel, 831-325-8600 (cell)

LOS ANGELES – On Tuesday, Jan. 26, the California Public Utilities Commission will conduct a public hearing in Los Angeles to receive community input regarding the proposed merger of Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable. If the merger is approved, Charter would become the second largest cable operator in the U.S., following Comcast.

The Public Participation Hearing, scheduled for 6 p.m., is the CPUC’s only public hearing regarding the merger. Members of the public, including The Greenlining Institute and members of the Greenlining Coalition, will provide input about the companies and concerns raised by the merger. Greenlining Senior Legal Counsel Paul Goodman, who will speak on behalf of the Institute, commented, “We’re concerned that this merger could result in higher prices, lower service quality, and less media diversity, and will have an impact on every single customer. It’s important that the Commission hears those customers’ stories before ruling on the merger.”

WHAT: CPUC Public Participation hearing on the Charter/Time Warner Cable merger.

WHO: CPUC members; Paul Goodman, Greenlining Institute Senior Legal Counsel; members of the Greenlining Coalition and the general public.

WHERE: Junipero Serra State Office Building – Auditorium (Carmel Room), 320 West 4th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013

WHEN: Tuesday, January 26, 2016, 6 p.m.

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THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE
A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute

greenlining.org

Climate Justice Leaders Concerned by Brown’s Budget, Urge Investment in Underserved Communities

Contact:
Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)
Isabel Alegría, Public Advocates, 510-541-5428 (cell), ialegria@publicadvocates.org
Bill Magavern, Coalition for Clean Air Policy Director, 916-527-8051; 916-214-0065 (cell)
Sydney Fang, Asian Pacific Environmental Network, 510-703-1311 (cell), sydney@apen4ej.org,

SACRAMENTO – Climate justice advocates from the SB 535 Coalition expressed support today for some new investment ideas in Gov. Brown’s proposed state budget but concern about other aspects of the proposal. The coalition – named for the 2012 law authored by Senator Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) requiring that a percentage of Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund proceeds from the state’s carbon auctions go to California’s most disadvantaged communities – urged immediate action to direct unallocated carbon auction funds from 2015 to communities that have suffered disproportionately from pollution and redlining.

One of the most disturbing aspects of the governor’s proposal is that takes at least $1 billion raised from carbon auctions but never allocated and simply rolls it into the new budget, effectively reducing 2015-16 spending to curb pollution and expand clean energy, clean vehicles, urban tree-planting and other vital programs

“Our communities have already suffered with excessive levels of pollution for far too long,” said Bill Magavern, Policy Director of the Coalition for Clean Air. “The governor and legislature should show a sense of urgency in sending climate dollars to meet critical needs in those communities.”

The groups expressed support for the governor’s proposal to enable funding for integrated local pollution-fighting projects in the most disadvantaged five percent of California’s communities . But advocates criticized the governor’s proposal to allocate $100 million in GGRF money to repave roads rather than to projects that clean the air and help underserved communities, as specified under the law. The California Air Resources Board has concluded in research briefs that repaving roads leads to increased carbon emissions; GGRF revenues, by contrast, are required by law to achieve “reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.”

“Revenues from the GGRF should go to transportation investments that help low-income communities and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Chelsea Tu, staff attorney at Public Advocates, Inc. “That means investing in more bus service and lower fares, measures that encourage use of public transportation not driving,” said Tu.

“While there are positive aspects to this budget, parts of it take us in the wrong direction,” said Greenlining Institute Environmental Equity Director Alvaro Sanchez. “It’s time to move more aggressively to invest in disadvantaged communities, bringing clean air and good jobs to neighborhoods hit first and worst by pollution and climate change, and to strengthen the guarantee that those communities will truly benefit from our climate policies.”

“Both the urgency of addressing climate change and the needs of California’s low-income, immigrant voting populous require that meaningful investments are made today,” said Parin Shah, senior strategist at the Asian Pacific Environmental Network. “The governor’s budget needs to prioritize delivering more renewable energy, greater access to public transportation, as well as energy efficient apartments, especially in the neighborhoods that have endured fossil fuel pollution for decades.”

 

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Join Us in 2016

Dear Friends and Allies,

On behalf of our dedicated team at The Greenlining Institute, we wish you and your loved ones a prosperous 2016.

We hope that you will join us in 2016 as we…

Happy New Year!

Orson Aguilar
Orson Aguilar
President

Greenlining Family