By Media Office Staff
The California Energy Commission and California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) Disadvantaged Communities Advisory Group, formed last year to help ensure that the benefits of the 21st century grid reach low income households and hard-to-reach customers, has issued its annual report documenting first year successes.
The 11-member advisory group was convened in April 2018 to advise the Energy Commission and CPUC on ways to help disadvantaged communities, including tribal and rural communities, benefit from proposed clean energy and pollution reduction programs. The group meets several times a year to review Energy Commission and CPUC clean energy programs and policies to determine their effectiveness and usefulness in disadvantaged communities.
The annual report chronicled the group’s efforts during its first year. A highlight was the group’s input on the CPUC’s Environmental and Social Justice Action Plan, adopted in February. The plan is a roadmap for advancing equity in CPUC programs and policies. The group strengthened the definition of disadvantaged communities, emphasized health as it relates to communities, and strengthened the workforce development goal in the plan.
The group also refined the Energy Commission’s energy equity indicators, an online mapping tool that identifies and tracks opportunities to improve access to clean energy technologies for low-income customers and disadvantaged communities, increase clean energy investment in those communities, and improve community resilience to grid outages and extreme events.
The group also developed an equity framework to help guide it when examining climate investments or interventions under consideration by the Energy Commission or CPUC. The group used the framework to help expand the definition of vulnerable communities to include tribal communities and low-income areas.
Formation of the group was required in Senate Bill 350, the Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015. Group members are either from or represent disadvantaged communities.