Community service groups to help underserved populations understand energy bills
Sunnyvale, Calif. – Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE) awarded a total of $75,000 in grant funds to six local organizations to collaborate on outreach to traditionally hard-to-reach and underserved residential customers. These grants complement the existing work and mission of trusted, local nonprofits while communicating SVCE’s services to a wide range of audiences.
Grantees include: Acterra, El Concilio, Interfaith Power and Light, Sound of Hope, Sunnyvale Community Services and the Vietnamese Voluntary Foundation. Many organizations will focus their outreach to customers on income-qualified energy discount programs. SVCE customers remain eligible for the California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE), Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA) and medical baseline programs, as well as the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
“As a community-owned agency, we’re dedicated to supporting nonprofits throughout our county that are providing important services to our customers,” says Girish Balachandran, SVCE CEO. “These organizations will help residents understand the benefits and on-bill savings that SVCE provides and communicate new energy programs that will reduce emissions and promote whole home health. We also look forward to learning from these organizations on how we can best serve the people and families in their networks.”
“We help vulnerable members in our local community with essential services, including financial aid for rent and utilities, food assistance, and screening for benefits,” says Marie Bernard, executive director of Sunnyvale Community Services. “We look forward to sharing how SVCE’s environmental and community benefits and competitive rates can further help the residents we serve.”
Sunnyvale Community Services (SCS) offers emergency financial assistance and services to SVCE’s largest member community, the City of Sunnyvale. SCS will host an energy education workshop and share SVCE information at food distribution sites, low-income Title I schools, local libraries and community centers.
Several other grant recipients also reach low-income and non-English speaking residents. El Concilio, an organization dedicated to improving quality of life for underserved communities in the counties of Santa Clara and San Mateo, will share SVCE information regularly at community events, food distribution sites, health centers and the Santa Clara Mexican Consulate.
Sound of Hope, a nonprofit organization and radio network that informs and educates the Chinese-speaking community on local issues, will host an in-person workshop to help residents understand their energy bill and share information at community events.
The Vietnamese Voluntary Foundation will communicate how SVCE benefits their clients at community events and through their existing programs and services, such as in-office case management services and classes on computer skills, English as a second language and citizenship.
These three nonprofits will also host radio shows to share information about SVCE with audiences who primarily speak Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese, respectively.
California Interfaith Power and Light (CIPL) works with faith-based communities of all religions to combat climate change. CIPL will offer sample sermons, faith responses to climate change, welcome packets and information about SVCE to engage their member congregations.
Acterra, an environmental education and community action nonprofit, will host energy clinics at local libraries and senior centers. These drop-in events will give residents an opportunity to speak one-on-one with a representative who can answer questions about their energy bills.
The grant cycle is one year with the potential of continuing the program and awarding additional grants in 2019. These organizations will play a critical role in SVCE’s outreach strategy, helping the agency reach a broader audience and build the connections to promote and inform future programs.
About Silicon Valley Clean Energy
Silicon Valley Clean Energy is a community-owned agency serving the majority of Santa Clara County communities, acquiring clean, carbon-free electricity on behalf of more than 270,000 residential and commercial customers. As a public agency, net revenues are returned to the community to keep rates low and promote clean energy programs. Member jurisdictions include Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, Mountain View, Saratoga, Sunnyvale and unincorporated Santa Clara County. SVCE is guided by a Board of Directors, which is comprised of a representative from the governing body of each member community. For more information, please visit SVCleanEnergy.org.