California New Energy Companies Fail Contract with Minority Owned Businesses - OutBuro LGBT professional entrepreneur online networking community gay lesbian bisexual transgender queer supplier diversity

California Hispanic Chambers Of Commerce Demand Accountability As Recent Report Reflects California’s Newest Energy Providers Are Woefully Behind In Contracting With The State’s Diverse Small Businesses

Measures by energy providers to expand minority supplier participation are dismal and extremely disconcerting

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Aug. 26, 2021 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — A recent report commissioned by the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce (CHCC) has revealed that California’s Community Choice Aggregators (CCAs) are woefully behind in contracting with the state’s diverse small businesses. Community Choice Aggregators are a much newer set of energy agencies regulated by the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC). The report, Failure to Diversify found that CCAs contracted with diverse firms for less than 0.1% of purchases, cutting women, minority, disabled veteran, and LGBT business enterprises out of $1.2 billion of economic opportunity when compared to investor-owned energy utilities.

California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce

“California is home to the nation’s largest and fastest growing segment of diverse small businesses,” said Julian Canete, President and CEO, CHCC. “We are extremely concerned at the lack of progress in procurement opportunities for those small businesses as set forth and required by General Order 156, adopted by the CPUC.  Despite being a critical part of California’s economic post pandemic recovery, small and diverse owned businesses have missed out on $1.2 billion in contracting opportunities, a situation that is unacceptable and must be remedied now.”  

Passed and adopted in 2002, Assembly Bill 117 authorized cities and counties to form their own agencies to procure electricity for individual customers within their own jurisdiction. These agencies, called Community Choice Aggregators compensate regulated utilities for the cost of electricity transmission and distribution to CCA customers. California’s first CCA, Marin Clean Energy, launched in 2010 and today there are 14 different CCAs around the state that are registered with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).

“For more than three decades, General Order 156 has proven that when women, minority, and other diverse businesses finally get the opportunity to compete, they often beat their competition,” said Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena), the author of several measures expanding supplier diversity requirements. “But it is clear that CCAs must step up on diverse procurement if they want the moral as well as economic leadership positions they want. Their lack of meaningful diverse spending shows they are not creating real jobs or contracting opportunities. The only diversity they seem to represent is in the communities that they claim to serve, but actually take advantage of. Much more must be done, and I appreciate that this report focuses attention on the need to increase GO 156 procurements across all providers, particularly from CCAs.”

In 1988, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) adopted General Order 156 in response to calls from policy makers and the public to increase opportunities for diverse small businesses to contract with corporations regulated by the CPUC. General Order 156 requires energy utility, water and telecommunications companies overseen by the CPUC to provide an annual report of their percentages of contracts given to women, minority, disabled veteran, and LGBT business enterprises, collectively referred to as “WMDVLGBTBE firms.”

Recognizing that promoting the interests of diverse businesses strengthens the overall state economy, GO 156 Section 8 set forth procurement goals for regulated utilities, requiring that companies establish plans to purchase at least 21.5% of each major category of products and services from diverse outside vendors, including 15% for minority-owned firms, 5% for women-owned firms, 1.5% for disabled veteran-owned firms, and goals to be established for LGBT-owned firms. In 2020, the state’s four large, regulated energy utilities contracted with WMDVLGBTE firms for 39% ($8 billion) of a total of $20.6 billion of products and services.

“CCA’s have been around for almost 20 years so it was shocking to see supplier diversity outcomes this low,” said José Atilio Hernández, Chairman of IdeateLABS, a statewide policy think tank issued the report commissioned by the Hispanic Chambers on the Failure to Diversify report. “As of 2020, California law requires CCA’s to take an initial step toward meeting CPUC requirements to contract with diverse businesses by requiring reporting of outcomes. Now that we see the numbers, it is clear that additional action is required for CCA’s to make meaningful progress toward meeting the state’s equity contracting goals.”

Following the 2019 expansion of G0 156 reporting requirements to CCAs through Senate Bill 255, CCAs filed their first Supplier Diversity Procurement Reports in 2021. The result was a dismal less than 0.1% of purchases, clearly cutting WMDVLGBTE businesses out of $1.2 billion of economic opportunity when compared to investor-owned energy utilities.

The CHCC is demanding the CCAs rectify this abysmal situation immediately and recommends the following steps for the consideration of regulators and policy makers if CCAs are to meet the CPUCs 21.5% diverse contracting goal or match the 40% average seen by CPUC-regulated investor-owned energy utilities,

  • Require GO 156 Contracting Goals for CCAs. The Legislature stopped short of requiring the same 21.5% diverse contracting goal contained in GO 156 for CCAs. As a result, CCAs stopped well short of that contracting goal, procuring less than 0.1% of total procurement through WMDVLGBTE firms. CCAs therefore must be included in GO 156.
  • Public Hearing on CCA Supplier Diversity. These findings regarding 2020 supplier diversity outcomes should be subject to a CPUC hearing to elicit feedback and guidance on how to help CCAs meet the diverse contracting goals of GO 156, especially as the Legislature and Commission considers our recommendation to include CCAs in GO 156.
  • A Moratorium on New CCAs. Until CCAs are formally brought into the GO 156 Supplier Diversity Program, we recommend a moratorium on creating any new CCAs. These agencies have advanced policy conversations around the need to accelerate progress toward our renewable energy and climate change objectives. But these efforts cannot come at the expense of the state’s diverse small businesses, who we see losing out on billions of dollars as CCAs take on more procurement responsibilities in the energy supply chain.

About the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce
The CHCC, through its network of over 103 local Hispanic chambers and trade associations, represents the interest of over 815,000 Hispanic businesses in California. For over forty years, the CHCC has served as the nation’s leading regional Hispanic business organization. The CHCC works to bring the issues and needs of Hispanic-owned businesses to the forefront of the California and national economic agendas.

About IdeateLABS
IdeateLABS is an interactive non-profit think tank that provides real time solutions to clients and partners. It’s an idea generator to policymakers, practitioners, research institutions, and stakeholders.  We use real intelligence, in real time to develop and visualize policy solutions to effectively communicate solutions to policymakers. We measure the impact of policy, investments, and business development to deliver a real time analysis.

Contact: Robert Alaniz
Milagro Strategy Group
(626) 437-3354
ralaniz@milagrosg.com

Logo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1534038/California_Hispanic_Chambers_of_Commerce_Logo.jpg  

SOURCE California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce

Wells Fargo Announces Artist-in-Residence to Join Efforts to Support Diverse- and Women-Owned Small Businesses

Graphic designer and illustrator Sophia Yeshi commissioned to create an “Open” for business sign as a bold, colorful statement of small business resiliency throughout the past year

Yeshi AIR Open Sign final
SB 2

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Wells Fargo is expanding its existing efforts to support diverse- and women-owned small businesses by welcoming graphic designer and illustrator Sophia Yeshi as the bank’s first-ever artist-in-residence. For her first project as the Wells Fargo Artist in Residence, Yeshi reimagined the “Open” sign as a bold statement to symbolize the perseverance of millions of small business owners through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic – as well as the long road ahead to full recovery. The new “Open” sign is available for download at wellsfargo.com/together and later this summer, small business owners can pick up a sign at any Wells Fargo branch while supplies last.

The Artist-in-Residence initiative is part of Wells Fargo’s commitment to offer small business owners access and assistance to tools, guidance and resources – including financial grants and loans available from nonprofits via the Open for Business Fund. The fund is a roughly $420 million small business recovery effort for those hardest hit by the pandemic. A list of Open for Business Fund grant recipients is available here to help business owners connect to CDFIs and non-profits so they can explore new avenues to capital and support.

“I’m honored to continue working with Wells Fargo in their pursuit of sharing the stories of resilient small business owners, and making critical resources available to all small businesses as they recover from the pandemic,” said Yeshi. “It was very rewarding to shine a light on the stories of individual diverse small businesses as part of my recent collaboration with the bank. With the new “Open” sign I created for my first project as Artist in Residence, I’m excited to celebrate the passion and dedication of all small business owners as they begin a new chapter.”

The Artist-in-Residence initiative follows the bank’s recent collaboration with three artists including Yeshi, Deborah Lee and Gabriela Alemán – who created custom “Open” signs bringing to life the unique stories of diverse- and women-owned small businesses. These business owners, from traditionally marginalized and historically underrepresented communities, were disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and their stories are part of the inspiration behind Yeshi’s new “Open” sign.

Yeshi is Wells Fargo’s first artist-in-residence, and her residency runs through December 2021. In addition to the creation of the new “Open” sign, Wells Fargo will tap into Yeshi’s unique style to influence the look and feel of internal campaigns and design assignments. Yeshi will also provide Wells Fargo small business customers with branding consultations as they reimagine their businesses in the months ahead. The Artist-in-Residence program is part of the company’s “We made a way. Together.” campaign, focused on helping entrepreneurs connect to resources and learn from peers about new ways to evolve their businesses.

About Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a leading financial services company that has approximately $1.9 trillion in assets and proudly serves one in three U.S. households and more than 10% of all middle market companies and small businesses in the U.S. We provide a diversified set of banking, investment and mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance, through our four reportable operating segments: Consumer Banking and Lending, Commercial Banking, Corporate and Investment Banking, and Wealth & Investment Management. Wells Fargo ranked No. 30 on Fortune’s 2020 rankings of America’s largest corporations. In the communities we serve, the company focuses its social impact on building a sustainable, inclusive future for all by supporting housing affordability, small business growth, financial health and a low-carbon economy. News, insights and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories.

Additional information may be found at www.wellsfargo.com | Twitter: @WellsFargo.

About Sophia Yeshi

Sophia Yeshi is a queer Black and South Asian illustrator and graphic designer based in Brooklyn, New York. She is a digital native that discovered Photoshop at 12 years old while growing up in Baltimore, Maryland. She created Yeshi Designs to shine a light on Black women, women of color, and folks in the LGBTQ+ community of all shapes and sizes that are bold, dynamic, and demand attention. Now, she creates culturally relevant work centered around topics she is passionate about like climate change, mental health, body positivity, and self-confidence.

News Release Category: WF-SB

Contacts

Media
Matt Miller, 312-428-1866

matt.miller@ketchum.com