CMUA Recognizes Publicly Owned Utilities and Water Agencies for Innovative Projects

Four CMUA member agencies were recognized this week with 2018 Resource Efficiency & Community Service Awards for outstanding projects advancing best practices and innovative ideas in the industry.

The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, the cities of Roseville and Santa Clara, and SMUD were honored during an awards banquet Monday in San Francisco during CMUA’s Annual Conference.

“These awards recognize leading-edge, effective initiatives spearheaded by our publicly-owned water and energy utilities. Together, they show how we’re advancing California’s resource efficiency goals while providing first-rate service to our customers,” said CMUA Executive Director Barry Moline.

Here’s a summary of the winning entries selected through a competitive judging process.

CMUA Executive Director Barry Moline (far let) and Arlen Orchard, CMUA president and SMUD CEO and general manger (far right) bookend LADWP staff, including David Jacot, Director of Efficiency Solutions, L.A. Department of Water & Power (holding award).

Best Community Service Program
Large Utility


Enhanced Energy Savings for Low-Income Multi-Family Residents and Owners in Los Angeles

LADWP and SoCalGas launched the joint Enhanced Energy Savings Assistance Program to offer no-cost installation of energy saving measures for income-qualified residential customers. To better serve this community, the program expanded to include energy-saving light bulbs, smart power strips, LED night lights and more. The advanced program allows both residents and property owners to benefit from lower utility usage and potentially lower bills. The program’s goal is to address up to 10,000 multi-family units per year in the coming years.

Roseville Electric Utility Director Michelle Bertolino and Chris Romero, government relations, accept the award on behalf of Roseville.

Best Community Service Program
Medium Utility


Sustain the Gains Landscape Makeover Contest
To fight the public’s “drought fatigue,” in 2017 Roseville Environmental Utilities launched a landscape makeover sweepstakes called Sustain the Gains, to remind customers of available water efficiency rebates such as “Cash for Grass.” Thanks to a highly targeted radio and online advertising campaign, the contest received more than 3,800 entries as Roseville homeowners vied for the grand prize — a water-efficient landscape makeover worth as much as $12,000. The campaign raised awareness and reaffirmed the importance of conservation — in wet and dry years.

Roopali Shah, manager of Customer Delivery, SMUD, accepts the award.

Best Energy Program
 Large Utility
 Energy Assistance Program Rate Overhaul

In 2016 SMUD launched a substantial overhaul of its 30-year-old Energy Assistance Program Rate discount for low-income customers — about 20% of SMUD’s customer base. The discount disproportionately skewed toward the highest energy users instead of households with the lowest income. The rate was redesigned with tiered discounts based on income. It also included significant education and access to energy efficiency and solar programs as well.

Gary Welling, Director, city of Santa Clara Water and Sewer Utilities, accepts the award.

Best Water Program
Large Utility

Recycled Water Program — Retrofit for Developments

Santa Clara has been a leader in the field of recycled water for decades. Currently, 17% of the city’s overall water use is recycled water, and no other water provider in the area uses recycled water to that extent. Santa Clara is now actively partnering with developers and the local business community to expand recycled water even more. Eleven new recycled water accounts were brought online in 2017, including local data centers and the 35-acre campus of a major computer hardware developer. More than 20 other projects currently are in development.