Step 4. Balancing diverse interests
The new rules of engagement in our world, our nation and our industry are conversation and collaboration. To effectively address the climate change problem, we are working to engage all of our stakeholders in the debate and in our plans. Climate change doesn’t respect borders, so to build support for our strategy we are defining our community broadly.
As a sustainable business, our connections with and among stakeholders are increasingly important to achieving our goals. As we work to build bridges between stakeholder groups, we must also balance their frequently competing needs.
As noted earlier, we will have a greater reliance on energy efficiency to meet our customers’ future energy needs. How we develop and implement this new regulatory paradigm will largely be decided by state utility regulators. But the momentum to get the job done is coming from many sectors, including utilities, customer groups and the environmental community.
Last year, we conducted a series of energy efficiency summits in collaboration with a broad range of stakeholders and nationally known energy efficiency experts. These gatherings focused on the benefits an effective energy efficiency program can offer customers and utilities. A dialogue began on the best way to move energy efficiency forward in each state. These efforts also provided a framework for building grassroots support for research and development funding for new clean energy technologies, and most importantly, for federal cap-and-trade legislation to reduce GHG emissions.
On the national level, we joined with seven other utilities — representing nearly 20 million customers in 22 states — who committed to a combined investment in energy efficiency of about $1.5 billion annually. When fully implemented in 10 years, this increased level of investment in energy efficiency will reduce CO2 emissions by about 30 million tons — avoiding the need for 50 500-megawatt peaking power plants.
We also helped form the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), a group of businesses and leading environmental organizations united in calling on the federal government to move quickly to enact strong national legislation to reduce GHG emissions.
Recognizing that this isn’t just a national problem, we’re also working very closely with Combat Climate Change (3C), a group of 46 leading companies located around the world. The 3C coalition is committed to finding a common framework for addressing global climate change by 2013.
We believe that engaging diverse stakeholders in our service areas, the nation and around the world will lead to carbon reduction policies that are fair and sustainable for the long term and for all the world’s people.