San Diego Gas & Electric’s procurement program helps boost regional economy

Published on March 19, 2024 by Dave Kovaleski

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Last year, San Diego Gas & Electric’s (SDG&E) procurement program generated approximately $2.59 billion in direct economic impact, with a sizable portion of that going to minority and diverse suppliers.

The company did this by contracting with more than 2,000 businesses for goods and services. Further, more than 43 percent of SDG&E’s total expenditures were with diverse suppliers – those owned by minorities, women, LGBT individuals, service-disabled veterans and persons with disabilities. That translates to doing business with nearly 600 diverse businesses, spending $450.6 million in San Diego County and $950.7 million in California with them.

SDG&E surpassed the California Public Utility Commission’s supplier diversity goal for the 19th consecutive year.

“We are laser-focused on maximizing every dollar for our customers, while also growing economic opportunities for small and diverse businesses in our region,” SDG&E CEO Caroline Winn said. “Championing people by creating opportunities through diversity, equity and inclusion is one of our core values.”

Since launching its supplier diversity program in the 1980s, SDG&E has helped many small businesses grow into prime suppliers, which then serve as mentors to diverse subcontractors. Last year, for example, SDG&E engaged Rancho Tree Service, a Minority Business Enterprise, as a prime contractor to provide vegetation management services.

“We are a family-owned business, and we are proud of our local operation and the jobs we have created through our vegetation management work with SDG&E,” Jose De La Cruz, owner of Rancho Tree Service, said. “Our crews help keep local communities safe from wildfires by trimming and clearing trees, bushes and other plants to prevent them from coming into contact with our electric infrastructure, such as power lines.”

Mark Cafferty, president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp., said large employers like SDG&E play a key role in growing the regional economy because of the large volume of goods and services they purchase.

“Our research has shown that if major companies make small shifts in procurement to direct more spending locally, it can help create thousands of jobs and add tens of millions of dollars to the local economy,” Cafferty said.