Verizon Shifting Gears to a Greener Truck Fleet Through Contract With Riverside County Company

Verizon's first major introduction of environmentally-friendly compressed natural gas vehicles to its truck fleets in California is being led by workers at the Hemet facility of Steelweld Equipment Co., a woman-owned business headquartered in St. Clair, Mo.

Verizon has contracted with Steelweld to convert 300 gasoline-powered Ford E-250 cargo vans to CNG, a move that will reduce vehicle carbon emissions by 480 tons per year.  On average, CNG engines emit 23 percent less carbon dioxide than comparable gasoline-powered vans.

The 300 new vans being retrofitted by Steelweld will be used in Southern California by Verizon technicians who install and repair broadband, TV and voice communications services for the company's residential and small-business customers.

"Adding lower-carbon alternative-fuel vehicles to our fleet is just one of the ways Verizon is reducing greenhouse gas emissions in communities we serve," said Tim McCallion, Verizon's West region president.  "Verizon is also upgrading its building and network infrastructure for greater energy efficiency, and we have built the most advanced communications systems available."

In 2008, Verizon was the first service provider in America to establish its own energy-consumption standards for new telecommunications network equipment to reduce its energy consumption and help shrink the company's carbon footprint.

"Since then, we've taken more steps to work with network equipment manufacturers to increase the energy efficiency of our operations, like reducing the heat output of chipsets and circuit boards to curb the need for air conditioning in our switching facilities," said Margaret Serjak, Verizon's operations president in California. "These new CNG vans aren't the first alternative fuel vehicles we've deployed in California, but they constitute one of our largest introductions to date."

The 300 vans are among the more than 1,600 alternative energy vehicles that Verizon plans to add to its nationwide fleet this year. It is estimated that the program will reduce the fleet's CO2 emissions by more than 2,400 metric tons annually. 

Assemblymember Pedro Nava, chairman of the California Assembly's Select Committee on the state's Green Economy, said: "This is another example of how Verizon is setting an example for other large companies with its ongoing efforts to be environmentally friendly. Verizon is reducing its carbon footprint, and is buying from California companies involved in the green economy."

In keeping with Verizon's commitment to supplier diversity, the vans were purchased from a minority-owned Ford dealership and retrofitted by a woman-owned business, Steelweld. These relationships stimulate economic development and tap into the innovation and entrepreneurship that companies like Verizon need to win in a competitive marketplace.

"At a time when the economy remains uncertain, Verizon's CNG vehicle order is enabling Steelweld to keep our employees at work in our factory in Hemet," said Elaine Hunter, owner of Steelweld. "Initiatives like Verizon's are good for the environment and the local economy."

In addition to replacing traditional fuel vehicles with cleaner, lower-carbon alternatives, Verizon employees have been reducing CO2 emissions by cutting engine idling times. Since 2008, Verizon employees have conserved more than 2.7 million gallons of fuel in this manner, the equivalent amount of greenhouse gas emitted by about 4,580 vehicles annually.   

To learn more about how Verizon is reducing the environmental impact of its operations, visit http://newscenter2.verizon.com/kit/green-press-kit/ or http://responsibility.verizon.com/.     

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, NASDAQ:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving more than 92 million customers nationwide.  Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers innovative, seamless business solutions to customers around the world.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon last year generated consolidated revenues of more than $107 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.