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California Public Utilities Commission
505 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco


Media Contact: Terrie Prosper, 415.703.1366,


SAN FRANCISCO, October 1, 2008 -- The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), in its ongoing efforts to promote diversity in utility company practices, will hold its sixth annual public hearing to address diversity issues affecting regulated utilities and other entities. This year's theme is "California: Advancing Diversity Procurement Opportunities with California Investor-Owned Utilities."

The CPUC will introduce the chief executive officers from California utilities to discuss the progress, commitments, and initiatives made in setting and meeting diversity goals over the last year and to present new goals for the future.

The hearing will lead off with an introduction from CalPERS followed by six panels. Panel topics will include accomplishments, advertising and media, California's workforce, an update on California Aspire Achieve Learn Lead, supplier diversity, and a presentation of the California Utilities Diversity Council annual report. The mid-day keynote speaker will be Senator Darrell Steinberg, Senate President Pro-Tempore Elect.

"I anticipate a robust discussion with the California utilities on their commitment to diversity made pursuant to General Order 156, particularly with respect to the procurement of services from disabled veterans business enterprises, an area that is in need of great improvement," said Commissioner John Bohn. "I also look forward to hearing a progress report on California Aspire Achieve Learn Lead, an innovative statewide program that provides for educational opportunities for students in pre-school through graduate school."

"I look forward to hearing how our regulatees are progressing on their voluntary commitments to meet diversity goals," commented Commissioner Rachelle Chong. "The CPUC has been doing its part by streamlining our certification process, actively reaching out to diversity suppliers, and focusing attention on the critical pipeline issue with new initiatives."

Added Commissioner Timothy Alan Simon, "Diversity should not be viewed as an altruistic or philanthropic endeavor; in today's market it is a business imperative. Utilities must demonstrate strategic plans that ensure supplier diversity keeps pace with the changing service territory and institutional investor demographics in the California marketplace. There is enormous shareholder value that will be realized by utilities that accept this reality."

Representatives of industry, government, academia, labor, community-based organizations, and other interested parties are expected to attend the hearing. Members of the public are invited to attend. A public comment session will be included.

For more information on the CPUC's Utility Supplier Diversity program, please visit: www.cpuc.ca.gov/static/supplierdiversity/index.htm.

For more information on the CPUC, please visit www.cpuc.ca.gov.


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