The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) regulates all of the participating investor-owned water companies, including the water, energy, telecommunications and transportation industries. Originally, the CPUC program did not include the water utilities; however, they joined the program voluntarily in 2005 after executing a Memorandum of Intent with the CPUC. Among the many activities in its Utility Supplier Diversity Program, the CPUC oversees a central database of certified WMDVBEs, manages an aggressive outreach campaign to new WMDVBEs, and monitors supplier diversity procurements by participating utilities.
The database is managed and operated by The Supplier Clearinghouse. In addition to establishing and overseeing a database of WMDVBEs that is accessible to the CPUC and to participating utilities, The Supplier Clearinghouse has the responsibility for administering and maintaining the certification process for WMBEs on behalf of the participating utilities. DVBEs are certified through the State of California’s Department of General Services.
The CPUC’s goal for participating utilities is to procure 21.5 percent of its total procurement from women, minority and disabled veteran-owned business enterprises (WMDVBEs). Specifically, the goals are as follows:
- 15 percent with Minority Business Enterprises (MBE)
- 5 percent with Women Business Enterprises (WBE)
- 1.5 percent with Disabled Veteran Business Enterprises (DVBE)
Participating water utilities are required to comply with California Public Utilities Code Sections 8281-8286 “Women and Minority Business Enterprises.”This legislation promotes greater economic opportunities for WMDVBEs to compete in the free enterprise system to strengthen the overall economy of the state.