In preparation for the launch of a new call center in Pittsburg that will serve MCE, a five-day workforce development training was organized by Future Build East County, the City of Pittsburg, Calpine, and AnswerNet. Electricity service to nine additional communities in Contra Costa County will begin in April 2018. This is the first time MCE will be able to facilitate full-time jobs in a new community prior to its start of service.

As part of an initiative to bring long-term, living wage jobs with benefits to Pittsburg, Council Member Merl Craft collaborated with Contra Costa-based workforce development organizations, Future Build East County and Rubicon, to recruit local candidates.

“Combining our priorities for sustainable action and ambitions for economic growth is both essential and possible here in Pittsburg,” said Pittsburg Council Member Craft. “The partnership between MCE’s call center and Future Build helps to fulfill local job needs, builds momentum for the County’s Northern Waterfront Initiative, and establishes a template for more public-private partnerships.”

The importance of a call center is crucial to any operating CCA, and the concept of local residents fielding phone calls from their neighbors is a key ingredient in making this new call center one of the most unique in the state of California.

Residents from Brentwood, Antioch, and Pittsburg participated in the 40-hour training, learning about community choice aggregation, account services, renewable energy, electricity procurement, and MCE’s services and energy efficiency programs. To learn more about local renewable projects and the wide variety of jobs they support, trainees received a private tour of the 60-acre, 10.5 megawatt MCE Solar One project in Richmond, which will be the Bay Area’s largest publicly-owned solar array. MCE plans to develop a curriculum from the call center training that can serve as a model for other CCAs across the state.

MCE staff member and five local call center trainees stand in front of ground mounted solar arrays at MCE Solar One
Call Center Trainees visit MCE Solar One

Calpine led a comprehensive training on how to become a successful customer service representative by educating trainees on customer relationship management systems, energy data, customer billing, call center basics, call handling, customer outreach, and industry best practices.

The call center is planned to open February 2018, coinciding with the delivery of the first mailers announcing customers’ change in electricity service within the nine new communities. To better serve its wider service area, MCE will also open additional office space in neighboring Concord in 2018.

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