Community Power Coalition’s Mission
MCE has worked to address the specific challenges that confront historically marginalized communities within our service area in a variety of ways, such as:
- sponsoring workforce development training,
- supporting local hire requirements for local renewable energy projects,
- reducing our generation rates to save customers money,
- advocating for low-income customers to be excluded from the PCIA “exit fee,”
- offering low-income solar rebates and thereby expanding access to MCE’s Net Energy Metering (NEM) cash-out, and
- providing energy efficiency installations in affordable housing units.
Low-income communities are key participants in building the future energy economy, and we believe our inclusive policies and programs can serve as a model for other Community Choice programs eager to accelerate a just transition to a sustainable energy economy.
Historically, there was a divide between the Coalition (largely environmental justice groups Contra Costa County) and other Advocates (largely environmental groups in Napa and Marin Counties). Not seeing a reason to keep them separated, these groups merged in 2016 in the hopes that their different interests would diversify and strengthen the Coalition membership through multi-county cross-pollination of ideas and collaborations.
While membership has expanded, the Coalition continues to works to represent disadvantaged communities and ensure these perspectives are incorporated into MCE’s policies, planning, and decision making processes. These include but are not limited to low-income households and non-native English speakers (primarily Spanish speakers). These partnerships community and grassroots policy advocacy organizations help MCE advance sustainable development and further statewide policy goals by leveraging the CCA energy model as a tool for environmental justice.
Want to learn more about what MCE can offer your communities? Check out the following:
- MCE’s Multifamily program prioritizes Affordable Housing developments by providing free energy assessments, free energy and water-saving measures for tenants, and free technical assistance to develop a comprehensive scope of work;
- MCE’s Low-Income Tenants and Families (LIFT) launches in late 2017 to address energy efficiency needs in disadvantaged and hidden communities;
- MCE provided $85,000 to Rising Sun Energy Center to train San Pablo and El Cerrito youth for green collar jobs in 2016.
- One of the Coalition’s highest priorities is energy efficiency to reduce electricity costs for low-income customers.In 2016, MCE’s Energy Efficiency team coordinated a bilingual campaign for small businesses in San Pablo. 45.1% of San Pablo residents are foreign born. The City has one of the highest poverty rates in MCE service area (18.3%), with 43.7% of MCE accounts on the low-income CARE rate. Over two days, a 3-person team went door-to-door offering free energy audits and direct install measures to “hard to reach” small businesses. In total, they visited 39 businesses, provided bilingual information and applications to 29 of those. 8 businesses did an energy audit on the spot.
MCE partnering with SmartLights to provide energy efficiency upgrades to hard-to-reach small businesses in San Pablo
Inspired by this campaign, in 2017 MCE partnered with the City of Richmond to do another door-to-door energy efficiency push for hard-to-reach businesses. Just as before, MCE provided extensive Spanish services to East Bay Energy Watch partner during the Energize Richmond campaign. Over the course of four days going door-to-door along 23rd St and Macdonald ave, MCE and EBEW spoke to 85 small businesses offering the additional rebates from the City of Richmond, in most cases completely covering the cost of an energy efficiency update. 64% of them did a free assessment and energy audit on the spot, and 58% spoke English as a second language.
- Only 2% of MCE accounts have selected the 100% renewable energy option. Since half the additional funds of going Deep green goes directly into MCE’s local renewable energy development fund, efforts to increase Deep Green not only mitigate more electricity-related greenhouse gas emissions and help local governments reach their Climate Action Plan goals, but they contribute to more local projects, and more local jobs. Resulting from a coordinated effort to promote this option, one Coalition member went on 90.5 KWMR to encourage Marin residents to opt-up; MCE is co-developing materials with another member to celebrate El Cerrito’s centennial with a “100 for 100” campaign; and MCE is working to incorporate Deep Green into the national “Ready for 100” campaign in Richmond