October 5, 2017

New Report: Utility/Telecom Contracting with Minority- and LGBT-Owned Firms Grows
Total Spending with Diverse Businesses Reaches $9.5 Billion but Comcast Lags; 2016 Was 1st Year for Reporting LGBT Contracting Stats

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

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – Contracting with diverse businesses by California’s major utility, telecommunications and water companies grew again in 2016, according to The Greenlining Institute’s latest Supplier Diversity Report Card. Still, performance varied greatly among companies, with Pacific Gas and Electric emerging as a leader and Comcast lagging. LGBT businesses were added to the California Public Utilities Commission’s supplier diversity program in 2015, and 2016 was the first year that companies had to report figures for their contracting with LGBT firms.

“We’re glad to see steady progress – progress that translates to jobs and opportunities for California’s diverse communities,” said Greenlining Institute Diversity and Inclusion Director Danielle Beavers. “Still, we can’t help but be disappointed that a huge and influential company like Comcast shows so little regard for California businesses owned by minorities, women, disabled veterans and LGBT Californians.”

Highlights of the report include:

  • Many companies increased their contracting with diverse businesses in 2016, spending a total of $6.38 billion with minority-owned businesses, $2.84 billion with women-owned businesses, and $431 million with companies owned by service-disabled veterans.
  • For the first time, figures were reported for LGBT-owned businesses, totaling just over $41 million.
  • Pacific Gas and Electric and Southern California Edison continued to be leaders, each earning an A grade with over 44 percent of contract dollars going to diverse firms.
  • Communications giant Comcast lagged badly, with its percentage of spending with diverse suppliers dropping by nearly half since 2013, resulting in a grade of D-. African American businesses got just over one half of one percent of Comcast’s contracting dollars, and Comcast spent nothing or nearly nothing with Native American-, disabled veteran- and LGBT-owned businesses.
  • Overall, contracting with Black-owned businesses lagged, with these firms getting just over three percent of total contracts.

Utility, telecommunications and water companies annually report data on contracting with diverse firms to the California Public Utilities Commission under the auspices of CPUC’s General Order 156. This legislatively authorized program seeks to boost California’s economy by encouraging contracting with businesses owned by minorities, women, service-disabled veterans and LGBT persons. Greenlining reviews the data each year and issues an annual report card, including evaluations and suggestions for improvement.


A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute