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State Funding for City’s Energy-Efficiency Program Could Double
 
The City of Chula Vista’s efforts to help residents and businesses reduce energy use have been so successful that San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) is proposing to double the amount of energy-efficiency funding the utility allocates to the city. Funding for the Energy Efficiency Partnership could jump to $4.6 million over the next three years, allowing the program to expand and reach more consumers than ever before with—among other services—free on-site energy assessments for businesses. Additionally, the new Partnership dollars would help improve the efficiency of new development along the Chula Vista bayfront and existing city buildings and public facilities, such as streetlights.

Partnership funds also would enable the City to begin implementation of its landmark climate protection measures recently approved by the City Council. When fully implemented, the measures are expected to bring Chula Vistans cleaner air, less congested streets and lower energy bills. The measures are recommendations of the Climate Change Working Group, community volunteers selected by the Council and tasked with exploring ways the city can combat global warming. One of the most innovative and ambitious measures is the recommendation to adopt green building standards throughout the city, a move that would surpass the state’s toughest regulations for energy efficiency.

“We applaud the City of Chula Vista for identifying creative strategies to help consumers reduce their energy use, clean up the environment and save money on their utility bills,” said Risa Baron, energy programs supervisor for SDG&E. “We’re looking forward to continuing our successful partnership to expand the city’s energy-efficiency efforts.”

Funding for energy-efficiency programs comes from the “Public Purpose Programs” charge, which is collected through the bills of customers of the state’s investor-owned utilities, including SDG&E. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) oversees how utilities spend that money. Commission members still need to approve the allocation for Chula Vista. The CPUC will decide in coming months on a portfolio of ratepayer-funded energy-efficiency programs, of which Chula Vista is just one.

“I see Chula Vista as a model for the state because of its cutting-edge approach to energy efficiency. Multiple city departments are involved and they’re addressing existing development as well as large new development projects coming on line,” said CPUC Analyst Jean Lemming. “The city is even looking for ways to integrate solar and other renewable resources with energy efficiency, and to spur local job development and purchasing through their energy efficiency projects as well.“

Over the course of the current program, the City distributed more than 22,000 free energy-saving Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs and 500 energy and water-saving spray rinse valves; initiated over $1 million in energy-efficient improvements at municipal facilities; and provided developers with the technical assistance they needed to build more efficient homes and businesses.

For more information, contact the Department of Conservation and Environmental Services at (619) 409-3893 or conservation@ci.chula-vista.ca.us.

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