Speak Out for Equity at the EBCE Budget Meeting, Wednesday, June 16

(06/2021) East Bay Community Energy's next board meeting agenda will include the annual budget item  for 2021-2022 on the agenda Wednesday, June 16, starting at 5pm. The proposed budget for the Local Development Business Plan (LDBP) is over $16 million and includes some excellent programs. However, the majority of the budget is still slated to go to projects that will largely benefit only middle- and upper-income customers. In May 2020, the board approved a large 3 year budget for EV infrastructure and vehicle purchase incentives budget with the intent of receiving a matching grant from the California Energy Commission (CEC).

East Bay Clean Power Alliance invites our allies to come and urge the Board to commit to a 40% for equity LDBP budget, in line with what President Biden has proposed for the federal budget. Our frontline communities, including disabled customers are most impacted by recent crises such as power shut-offs and COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically we are asking the Board to put more money into community resiliency hubs, debt relief and community-owned solar and battery storage. There are programs already in the proposal that could address these needs, but they could use more funding and a commitment to work with environmental and social  justice community organizations and members to be effective.
The proposed budget includes a $1.5 million investment in efforts to reduce utility debt, working with community organizations to enroll customers in CARE, FERA and the CPUC debt forgiveness program known as Arrearage Management Program (AMP). There is a CPUC-funded Community Solar Green Tariff program (CSGT) that would give CARE and FERA customers an additional 20% discount, and a battery giveaway program for medically-dependent customers. The solar plus battery storage program for critical municipal facilities includes some community centers, schools and one food bank in the proposal. Facilities like those have the potential to address frontline community needs as a resiliency hub that provides energy during power shut offs, if the EBCE staff works with people in those communities.
However, over 60% of the LDBP budget, almost $10.5 million, is earmarked for electric vehicle programs, the bulk of it for installation of charging stations throughout EBCE territory that would mostly benefit private EV owners. The programs to increase electrification of homes and businesses are set to receive over $2 million, but are unlikely to benefit low income customers as they require financial investments to participate. 
Though we do not expect to effect much change in this years’ budget, it is critical that the EBCE Board hear from community organizations and members in order to affect future budget priorities.
You can sign up to speak on the EBCE website by Monday, June 14. Here is the link to the talking points