Puget Sound Energy has convened an Equity Advisory Group (EAG) that will advise the state’s largest utility on its Clean Energy Implementation Plan (CEIP) set by the state’s groundbreaking climate legislation passed in 2019– the Washington Clean Energy Transformation Act.
The implementation plan is the company’s four-year roadmap that will outline clean electricity targets, actions and programs. The advisory group is helping to frame the plan with equity and community interests in mind. The group is considering ways to equitably distribute benefits and reduce burdens that stem from electric planning decisions, so that the clean electricity transformation is affordable, accountable and accessible.
“As we make this clean energy transition, it’s not lost on me that historically many groups have faced barriers to accessing clean energy because of cost, awareness, and systemic inequalities,” said Puget Sound Energy President and CEO Mary Kipp. “Clean energy is important but so is ensuring that everyone can afford it and that all voices are heard and included in the transition.”
The group is comprised of 13 members generally representing community-based organizations from across PSE’s service area. These inaugural members will serve for at least one year to help inform the company’s first CEIP and to give shape to the group’s governance processes. The advisory group will continue into the future and PSE expects the membership to evolve over time.
“I’m pleased to be a member of the Equity Advisory Group as a voice for seniors, disabled adults and caregivers,” said Island Senior Resources Executive Director Cheryn Weiser, one of inaugural members of the group. “Island County has a large and growing population of seniors that are often overlooked in planning efforts. Additionally, I have a long standing commitment to clean energy and see it as an imperative. I’ve learned about PSE’s efforts in planning for a clean energy future and the importance of integrating the mandates in CETA with planning for an equitable future for all. The underlying issues are complex and will require innovative strategies and tactics to assure success.”
“I’m participating to help ensure that members of the Latino community have an opportunity to voice their ideas on how clean energy will benefit their day to day lives,” said El Centro de la Raza Executive Director Estela Ortega, another inaugural member of the group.
The 2021 Equity Advisory Group is facilitated by Rose McKinney-James of Advocacy BL/ACK and supported by the facilitation team of Maul Foster & Alongi and Triangle Associates.
The members include:
• Susana Bailén Acevedo, Community advocate
• Jenny Harding, GSBA and New Chapter Weddings and Events
• Emily Larson Kubiak, Sustainable Connections
• Michele Ogden and Lexi Withers (alternate), Tacoma Urban League
• Estela Ortega, El Centro de la Raza
• TJ Protho, Vadis
• Kate Sander, HopeSource
• John Sternlicht, Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County
• Dennis Suarez, Washington Soldiers Home
• Teresa Taylor, Lummi Indian Business Council’s Office of Economic Policy
• Mariel Thuraisingham, Front and Centered
• Cheryn Weiser, Island Senior Resources
• Karia Wong and Michael Itti (alternate), CISC
“We’re looking forward to working in partnership with this diverse group and listening, learning and working together to build equity into our electric energy efforts,” said Kipp.
In addition to the Equity Advisory Group, PSE is also engaging customers and other stakeholders to develop its first CEIP. To learn more about the Equity Advisory Group and the CEIP, visit www.cleanenergyplan.pse.com.
PSE is leading utilities with its aspiration to equitably and sustainably reach beyond net zero carbon emissions by 2045. As part of that goal, the company is forming a separate Beyond Net Zero Carbon advisory group, which will be a committee to work on PSE’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions on both its natural gas and electric supply.