As economic factors continue to make running a business challenging, small business customers of Riverside Public Utilities are taking advantage of free direct installation programs that help increase their water and energy efficiency, and lower their utility bills.
For more than a decade, Riverside Public Utilities has offered a variety of programs and services to assist its large and small commercial customers alike. The programs, funded by public benefits monies, are both beneficial to the businesses and help the utility meet state mandated goals for energy and water use efficiency.
While smaller flat-rate business customers, like those with an average electrical demand below 20 kilowatts (kW), have shown interest in participating in RPU efficiency programs in the past, factors such as time, staffing constraints, and cash flows haven’t allowed them to participate.
With the creation of the Small Business Energy and Water Efficiency Direct Install Program (SBDI) last February, the utility has made it easier for its smaller commercial customers to take advantage of these programs. Through its contracted vendor, RPU will conduct energy and water surveys to determine how the business could be more efficient.
Once completed, the vendors are authorized to provide up to $1,000 in energy upgrades and $500 in water efficiency upgrades per qualified business. Services have included lighting retrofits, HVAC system tune-ups and high efficiency toilet replacements.
“So far we have assisted over 1,000 small businesses with this program,” said RPU’s Assistant General Manager for Customer Relations/Marketing Mike Bacich. “The energy retrofits alone over the past year have provided nearly 5 million kilowatt hours of savings.”
In addition to the SBDI program, the utility’s “Keep Your Cool” program assists businesses like liquor stores, gas stations, and markets by installing efficient motors, replacement gaskets, and LED case lighting in large walk-in coolers. Working with their vendor Blue Earth, RPU has assisted about 40 customers with this co-pay program that assists with funding of 80 percent of the project’s cost (up to $7,500).
“Along with the electric rate freeze that is in effect through next January, programs like these are helping to keep our small business customers thriving,” Bacich said. For information about available water and energy conservation rebate and incentive programs offered by RPU, visit GreenRiverside.com or contact the utility at (951) 826-5485.
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