Thursday, February 6, 2020

PUC Updates Policy On Promoting Diversity At Utilities; Begins Rulemaking Process On Reporting Diversity Information

On February 6, the Public Utility Commission voted 5-0 in support of a motion by Chairman Gladys Brown Dutrieuille intended to “reinvigorate the Commission’s efforts to promote and implement effective diversity programs at our major jurisdictional utility companies.”             
This action launches a two-stage process to enhance information-gathering about utility diversity programs-- initially updating and clarifying the PUC’s existing Policy Statement on Diversity at Major Jurisdictional Utility Companies (adopted in March 1995), which recommends that utilities provide certain diversity information to the Commission; and also beginning a rulemaking process which would require regular diversity reporting by utilities.
As noted by Chairman Dutrieuille in her motion, the current policy statement encourages utilities to file annual diversity reports and recommends the inclusion of certain information about their programs, but different interpretations of those recommendations can result in utilities sometimes including too little information, too much information or unnecessary information.
Revisions to the proposed PUC Diversity policy statement proposed include:
-- Updating the definition of diversity to include minorities, women, veterans, LGBTQ, and the disabled.
-- A standardized reporting form with the goal of collecting the following information:
-- A copy of any corporate policy committed to improving diversity in the workplace and in the procurement process. 
-- A description of any training implemented on diversity initiatives in employment and in the contract of goods and services. 
-- A standardized format to account for diverse employee numbers. 
-- A description of any diversity recruiting strategies.
-- A description of any diversity promotion efforts.
-- A description of any diversity retention efforts.
-- A brief description of any involvement with organizations promoting diversity.
-- A brief summary of diverse owned businesses the company contracts with for goods and services, including the percentage of dollars spent with diverse-owned businesses versus non-diverse businesses.
The motion also directs the PUC’s Law Bureau to develop an amended policy statement on diversity, to be issued by March 31, 2020-- which will be followed by a 45-day period for comment from utilities and other concerned parties.
The motion directs the PUC’s Law Bureau to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for diversity reporting requirements by December 31, 2020.
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[Posted: February 6, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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