About the ESJ Action Plan

The mission of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is to regulate essential utility services to protect consumers and safeguard the environment, assuring safe and reliable access to all Californians. In accordance with the CPUC’s institutional values of accountability, excellence, integrity, open communication, and stewardship, the CPUC has created the Environmental and Social Justice (ESJ) Action Plan to serve as both a commitment to furthering ESJ principles, as well as an operating framework with which to integrate ESJ considerations throughout the agency’s work.

“Environmental justice” means the fair treatment of people of all races, cultures, and incomes with respect to the development, adoption, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.  Because the CPUC regulates utility services beyond those tied to the environment, the term “environmental and social justice” or “ESJ” has been adopted to capture a broader effort and potential population.

The CPUC is tasked with serving all Californians, and to do so effectively, it must acknowledge that some populations in California face higher barriers to access to clean, safe, and affordable utility services. To fulfill its mission, the CPUC acknowledges it must focus on communities that have been underserved, as this plan outlines. Additionally, as the CPUC fulfills the goals and objectives listed in this ESJ Action Plan and improves its ability to serve ESJ communities, it will become even more transparent, accessible, and effective for all the communities it serves.  

ESJ Action Plan: Key Documents & Links

Please check back for any upcoming meetings. 

Environmental and Social Justice High Road Workforce En Banc 

In the En Banc, we explored critical workforce development efforts in different industries, including energy efficiency, renewable energy, building decarbonization, vegetation management, communications, and transportation.

CPUC Environmental and Social Justice Action Plan Webinar #2

A summary and forum on one of the CPUC’s guiding document. Join the CPUC for a webinar to learn about and provide feedback on the latest revision of the CPUC’s ESJ Action Plan.

CPUC Environmental and Social Justice Action Plan Webinar #1

A summary and forum on one of the CPUC’s guiding documents. This online forum will discuss the latest proposed revisions to this living document and give stakeholders an opportunity to provide input and influence the course of the draft revision.

ESJ Action Plan Update Workshop February 2021


ESJ Action Plan Goals

The ESJ Action Plan establishes a series of goals related to health and safety, consumer protection, program benefits, and enforcement in all the sectors the CPUC regulates.

These goals include making sure members of ESJ communities participate in CPUC proceedings and decision-making and that investments in clean energy resources, transportation, and communication services benefit all communities.

Nine Goals of the ESJ Action Plan


Consistently integrate equity and access considerations throughout CPUC proceedings and other efforts 


Increase investment in clean energy resources to benefit ESJ communities, especially to improve local air quality and public health.


Strive to improve access to high-quality water, communications, and transportation services for ESJ communities.


Increase climate resiliency in ESJ communities.


Enhance outreach and public participation opportunities for ESJ communities to meaningfully participate in the CPUC's decision-making process and benefit from CPUC programs.


Enhance enforcement to ensure safety and consumer protection for ESJ communities.


Promote high road career paths and economic opportunity for residents of ESJ communities.


Improve training and staff development related to ESJ issues within the CPUC's jurisdiction.


Monitor the CPUC's ESJ efforts to evaluate how they are achieving their objectives.

Definition of ESJ Communities

To guide the implementation of the ESJ Action Plan, the CPUC adapted a definition for ESJ communities as follows:

“Environmental and Social Justice Communities” or “ESJ Communities” are identified as those where residents are:

  • Predominantly communities of color or low-income;
  • Underrepresented in the policy setting or decision-making process;
  • Subject to a disproportionate impact from one or more environmental hazards; and
  • Likely to experience disparate implementation of environmental regulations and socio-economic investments in their communities.

These communities may also include:

  • Disadvantaged Communities (defined pursuant to CalEnviroScreen 4.0 as census tracts that score in the top 25% of CalEnviroScreen 4.0, those that score within the highest 5% of CalEnviroScreen 4.0’s Pollution Burden but do not receive an overall CalEnviroScreen score, census tracts identified as Disadvantaged Communities in CalEnviroScreen 3.0, and areas under the control of federally recognized Tribes).
  • All Tribal lands.
  • Low-income households (defined as household incomes below 80 percent of the area median income); and
  • Low-income census tracts (defined as census tracts where aggregated household incomes are less than 80 percent of area or state median income).

For questions regarding CPUC ESJ efforts, please contact ESJActionPlan@cpuc.ca.gov.