Ensuring a More Equitable Transportation Electrification Transition | SEPA Skip to content

Ensuring a More Equitable Transportation Electrification Transition

New SEPA research empowers decisionmakers to be more intentional about including equity in their work

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Without intentionality, historically disadvantaged communities will remain left behind in the transition to transportation electrification. A new toolkit from the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) equips utilities and regulators with the necessary tools to benchmark how their activities may create inequities, synthesizes industry best practices, and presents guidance for using them across a broad spectrum of program types. Key learnings from this project highlight that utility equity TE efforts require support from the top and dedication across the entire utility; and building trust in the community – through community partnerships, direct community engagement, and early program emphasis – is paramount to success.

“The first step to addressing and overcoming inequity is to benchmark where we are today and measure the improvements we make along the way,” said Garrett Fitzgerald, senior director, electrification at SEPA. “This benchmarking toolkit offers a good starting point for utilities and regulators to intentionally address and integrate equity into transportation electrification programs.

Produced in collaboration with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the project leverages the perspectives and best practices of utilities and community-based organizations (CBO) to create an equitable transition. Utilities conveyed an overwhelming desire to develop more equitable TE programs that benefit all customer segments. CBOs undoubtedly are more actively involved in decision-making processes today and their recommendations are beginning to carry significant weight.

“SEPA developed this toolkit to support and strengthen efforts to ensure equity as we progress transportation electrification nationwide, ensuring no customer or community gets left behind in the clean energy transition,” said Sheri Givens, SEPA president and CEO. “I am incredibly proud of the year-long effort that the SEPA and EPRI team engaged on with over 150 community members across 10 states, along with the staff of eight utilities, to ascertain best practices and guidance to ensure accessibility and affordability going forward. That said, we recognize much work remains. SEPA will continue to lead by example by incorporating equity into our projects and building trust within our members’ communities.”

Utilities must actively engage with their communities, meet their customers where they are with their education and outreach programs, and remove barriers to participation. Developing partnerships with community organizations, leveraging existing community events, understanding the real needs of the locality and providing programs that solve specific problems are a start.

Based on these findings, the project’s toolkit starts with providing common language to define equity, community, and the role of the utility, recognizing the utility cannot be solely responsible for achieving equity as that work will be shared with government, private, and non-utility actors. From common language emerges the metrics utilities can use to set goals designed to accomplish specific equity objectives, allowing stakeholders to track real-world impacts.

The project, Benchmarking Equitable Transportation Electrification: Program Design and Benchmarking Toolkit includes an insight brief on the importance of equity, a set of 16 modules covering a broad range of TE programs, and a comprehensive report on benchmarking TE equity. Each TE program module includes an overview of the TE program, potential contributions to inequities and approaches to addressing inequities, benchmarking metrics most relevant to that TE program, stakeholder roles, and examples of equitable TE program best practices.


Media Contact