The CPUC’s Business and Community Outreach group works with Community Based Organizations, local government groups, businesses, and direct service providers to raise awareness of the CPUC’s consumer programs. Additionally, this group promotes the CPUC’s policies of energy and water conservation and efficiency.
This newly formed group works to ensure that the CPUC’s policies are effectively implemented and also raises awareness of consumer programs. The group consists of four Outreach Officers who are assigned to cover specific areas in the state. Our Outreach Officers work with community leaders to help promote consumer assistance programs such as CARE, FERA, Low Income Energy Efficiency, and California LifeLine. The Outreach Officers work to ensure that consumers who qualify for these programs have the information they need in order to enroll. If your organization is interested in having one of our Outreach Officers give a presentation on consumer programs, please contact Marzia Zafar at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are a business and want more information on how to become more energy efficient and/or how the new and existing regulatory policies will impact your bottom line, please contact the Business and Community Outreach group (email@example.com) to get specific information tailored to meet your needs.
In addition to meeting with community groups and businesses, the CPUC Outreach Officers also speak at conferences throughout the state. In July those conferences included California Assembly Speaker Karen Bass’ (D-Los Angeles) Green Jobs in Energy Efficiency Job Fair
, the California American Indian Chamber of Commerce Expo
, and the Oxnard Chamber of Commerce 2009 Business Resource Expo
sponsored by California Assemblymember Pedro Nava (D-Santa Barbara).
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In these tough economic times, the CPUC is continuing its commitment to improving contracting opportunities for small businesses, as they are the backbone of our economy and will contribute to our recovery.
Governor Schwarzenegger’s Executive Order S-02-06 (signed March 29, 2006) recognizes that it is difficult for small businesses to find opportunities and new clients. It requires all state agencies to award 25 percent of their annual contracting dollars to small businesses and three percent to Disabled Veteran Business Enterprises (DVBE) based in California. A small business is defined as a business based in California with less than 100 employees and gross receipts of $12 million or less over the previous three tax years. For certification purposes, a “disabled veteran” is a veteran of the U.S. Military, naval, or air service; and has a service connected disability of at least 10 percent as declared by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
In addition to the 25 percent small business goal, most state agencies are required to have a dedicated small business advocate who coordinates the small business procurement process. Advocates strive to ensure that their agency meets the state’s 25 percent goal. At the CPUC, not only do we regulate investor-owned energy, communications, transportation, and water utilities, but we are also committed to serving the needs of the small business community. Our Small Business Program ensures that we award contracts to small businesses. We reach out to small business owners at procurement fairs and expos, and also provide education and legislative/policy advocacy.
If your business offers a service or a product that a state agency may need, you should consider bidding for a contract. Contracts vary widely in size from less than $5,000 to multi-million dollar contracts. If you decide to pursue business opportunities with the state, make sure you are certified as a Small Business or a DVBE. Certification is free and provides valuable benefits. Small Business or DVBE Certification can afford you a five percent bid preference on state contracts. To get certified as a Small Business or DVBE, visit the California Department of General Services’ website or call 916-375-4940. Online certification is simple and takes only a few minutes.
CPUC-regulated utilities, which conduct millions of dollars of business in California every year, represent another significant area of opportunity for small businesses. The utilities continue to have contracting needs even during difficult economic times, as they must provide their essential services to consumers. The utilities’ procurement needs are widely varied. For example, utilities must procure contracts for construction services, janitorial services, power tools, weed abatement, landscaping, pest control, hauling, furniture, as well as many other areas. In particular, there are certain sectors such as green building, renewable energy, and solar installation that are rapidly expanding in California. The state’s utilities include Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Southern California Edison, Sempra Energy Utilities (San Diego Gas and Electric and Southern California Gas), California Water Association, Verizon, and AT&T.
If you qualify as a woman or a minority owned firm under CPUC General Order 156, there is another program that may benefit you. The utilities aim to conduct five percent of all purchases/contracts with women-owned businesses and 15 percent of their procurement with minority owned businesses. If you think you may qualify as a woman or minority owned business, visit www.asianinc.org or call 1-800-359-7998 to get certified.
Even in this economic downturn, there are many opportunities for small businesses.
Please check the CPUC website
, contact other state agencies, and get in touch with the utilities for opportunities. Good Luck!
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