Friday, June 4, 2021

PUC Invites Comments On Proposal To Require Diversity Reporting By Public Utilities

The Public Utility Commission published a notice
in the June 5 PA Bulletin inviting comments on a proposed regulation to require regular reporting on diversity programs and efforts by major utilities under the Commission’s jurisdiction. 

This rulemaking builds on the recommendations included in the PUC’s recently revised policy statement on diversity, as part of the diversity discussion initiated earlier this year by PUC Chairman Gladys Brown Dutrieuille.

The Commission is proposing that diversity reporting become mandatory for major jurisdictional utilities providing electric, natural gas, water, wastewater and telecommunications services. 

Properly structured, diversity programs can successfully leverage untapped talent pools to help fill these critical jobs. Furthermore, as regulated monopolies, the Commonwealth’s jurisdictional utilities have unique beneficial community relationships which diversity programs have the power to strengthen.  

Submitting Comments

Interested parties can submit comments within 45 days of the June 5 PA Bulletin notice.  

Comments should be eFiled through the PUC’s eFiling System. Instructions for creating a free eFiling account are available on the PUC website. Comments containing confidential information should be emailed to Commission Secretary Rosemary Chiavetta at rather than eFiled. 

In addition to the public comment period, this regulation, like all state agency regulation is being submitted to the Office of the Attorney General, for review as to form and legality, and the Governor’s Budget Office, for review of fiscal impact – and submitted for review and comment by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission and the appropriate Senate and House standing committees.

Copies of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking are also being served on all major jurisdictional utilities in the Commonwealth, as well as the parties involved in earlier discussions about updates to the PUC’s policy statement on diversity.

PUC Policy Statement on Diversity at Major Utilities

This action by the Commission follows recent action to update the PUC’s “Statement of Policy on Diversity at Major Jurisdictional Utility Companies” – which was initially adopted in 1995. The enhanced policy statement expanded diversity reporting guidelines to include minorities, women, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ, and veterans. 

The final version of that policy statement was unanimously approved by the Commission on Dec. 3, 2020.

The revised PUC policy statement on diversity at public utilities reflects the Commonwealth’s diverse citizenship – including minorities, women, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ, and veterans.

Revisions to the PUC Diversity policy statement 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 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.

For more information, visit PUC Docket No.: L-2020-3017284.

[Posted: June 4, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

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