Re­bates seek to boost con­ser­va­tion

Bur­bank Wa­ter and Power will cover por­tion of pur­chases that re­duce wa­ter and power con­sump­tion.

Los Angeles Times - - LOS ANGELES - By Chad Gar­land chad. gar­land@ latimes. com

A por­tion of Bur­bank res­i­dents’ costs for pur­chas­ing pool cov­ers, up­grad­ing to more ef­fi­cient ap­pli­ances and other con­ser­va­tion mea­sures will be cov­ered un­der a new Bur­bank Wa­ter and Power re­bate ap­proved by the City Coun­cil.

Pool cov­ers, some­times called so­lar blan­kets, re­duce wa­ter eva­po­ra­tion and are man­dated un­der stage three of the city’s wa­ter con­ser­va­tion or­di­nance, which took ef­fect June 1. Some coun­cil mem­bers had asked the util­ity last month to look into cre­at­ing an in­cen­tive to en­cour­age com­pli­ance with the re­quire­ment.

As part of a pack­age of mod­i­fi­ca­tions to the util­ity’s energy- and wa­ter- ef­fi­ciency pro­grams, coun­cil mem­bers ap­proved a re­bate of up to $ 50 for the cov­ers, which can run from $ 15 to hun­dreds of dol­lars, ac­cord­ing to home im­prove­ment and pool sup­ply web­sites. Other changes will in­crease re­bates for res­i­dents and busi­nesses that opt for up­grades to ef­fi­cient ap­pli­ances and there are plans for new in­cen­tives for busi­nesses to switch to more energy- ef­fi­cient air con­di­tion­ing units.

For the city’s 2014- 15 fis­cal year, which ends this month, the util­ity’s energy- and wa­ter- ef­fi­ciency pro­grams are ex­pected to re­duce peak power de­mand roughly 3 megawatts and drink­ing wa­ter con­sump­tion more than 60 mil­lion gal­lons, ac­cord­ing to a staff re­port.

Over­all, energy use de­creased by 11.7 mil­lion kilo­watt- hours — 2% shy of a 12mil­lion- kilo­watt- per- hour goal.

The changes adopted last week are ex­pected to fur­ther en­hance those sav­ings, and coun­cil mem­bers re­quested pe­ri­odic re­ports on the ef­fects of the pro­grams.

One change al­lows busi­nesses that took part in the Busi­ness Bucks pro­gram to get a sec­ond chance to make energy- sav­ing retrofits, up to $ 5,000 of which the util­ity will pay for, depend­ing on the par­tic­i­pant’s an­nual energy use.

More than 4,000 up­grades have been com­pleted at nearly 90% of the city’s busi­nesses since the pro­gram started in 2003, said Jeanette Meyer, mar­ket­ing man­ager for the util­ity. How­ever, she said some early par­tic­i­pants had a lower in­cen­tive amount and may have “left some mea­sure on the ta­ble” that could be im­ple­mented on a sec­ond pass.

The util­ity will also dou­ble re­bates to res­i­dents who pur­chase el­i­gi­ble clothes wash­ers, dish­wash­ers and pool pumps, while in­creas­ing re­bates for air con­di­tion­ing units by $ 20 per ton of ca­pac­ity.

Switch­ing to wa­ter- ef­fi­cient wash­ing ma­chines could help the city save wa- ter dur­ing the drought, Meyer said, and be­cause pool pumps and air con­di­tion­ing units are the big­gest energy hogs, she said, more ef­fi­cient mod­els would help re­duce peak energy de­mand.

That could help “f lat­ten out the duck,” said Coun­cil­woman Emily Gabel- Luddy, re­fer­ring to a chart that il­lus­trates energy de­mand over the course of the day, which some of­fi­cials have dubbed the “duck curve.” The graph is shaped like a duck’s belly dur­ing the day­light hours, when de­mand is low and so­lar is abun­dant, but like a duck’s neck when de­mand rises sharply in the late af­ter­noon.

The util­ity will also start an in­cen­tive pro­gram to en­cour­age in­stal­la­tion of more energy- ef­fi­cient air con­di­tion­ing units in com­mer­cial prop­er­ties by pro­vid­ing re­bates to dis­trib­u­tors that stock and sell them to Bur­bank busi­nesses. Meyer said busi­nesses tend to run air con­di­tion­ing year- round, un­like many res­i­dents, mean­ing the po­ten­tial for energy sav­ings is high.

These “up­stream” in­cen­tives at other util­i­ties in the state have been more ef­fec­tive than re­bates pro­vided di­rectly to con­sumers, Meyer said. The util­ity be­lieves con­sumers “down­stream” ben­e­fit through bet­ter prices as a re­sult, she said, but they will also ben­e­fit from re­duced elec­tric bills.

Coun­cil­man Jess Tala­mantes agreed.

“We hope [ in] the trick­le­down ef­fect,” he said.

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