As an integral part of community life, how public power utilities structure everything from rates to programs and infrastructure can be viewed as supporting or detracting from how fairly people are treated within a community.
Here are some steps utilities can take to ensure their community members have equal access to the same reliability and quality electricity.
- Assessing how rate structures affect people in different living circumstances, and any related usage patterns
- Making sure key utility messaging is accessible to various parts of your community – including those who might not have access to certain technology and to those who speak other languages
- Connecting with various neighborhood groups to gather feedback from across the community
- Ensuring infrastructure upgrades deploy fairly across the service territory
- Learning if certain communities face disparate health effects from any type of energy infrastructure. For example, areas with high traffic might experience health problems related to gasoline emissions. Utilities could work with public transit agencies to site charging for electric buses and other “last mile” options in these areas
- Reviewing work to ensure vegetation management practices are applied similarly in lower-income neighborhoods as others
- Developing community solar projects with carve outs for income-qualified customers
- Targeting home retrofitting weatherization assistance programs to customers with higher energy burden
- Checking if customers with certain demographics or within specific neighborhoods are not enrolling in utility programs – and learning what might be stopping them from doing so