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The Helix Water District received rebates of $5,500 from the State of California on each of the six Priuses purchased over the last two years. They average over 75 miles per gallon and the district expects to save an additional $1,000 per vehicle per year in avoided fuel costs. Photo: Courtesy Helix Water District

Helix Water District Is Going Electric

Representatives from the Helix Water District, San Diego Gas & Electric, and the cities of El Cajon, La Mesa and Lemon Grove on September 12 celebrated Helix’s new electric vehicle charging stations in conjunction with National Drive Electric Week and Electric Vehicle Day on September 15.

Helix installed 10 electric vehicle charging stations at the district’s operations center in El Cajon and 10 more at its administration office in La Mesa through SDG&E’s Power Your Drive program, which funded the equipment and installation.

Installing electric vehicle charging stations at its operations center and administration office is the latest cost control initiative undertaken by the Helix Water District. It received rebates of $5,500 from the State of California for each of six Toyota Prius automobiles purchase over the past two years. The vehicles average over 75 miles per gallon. The district expects to save an additional $1,000 per vehicle per year in avoided fuel costs. Integrating electric vehicles into the Helix vehicle fleet will accelerate when hybrid light-duty trucks become available.

But controlling costs isn’t the only motivation for going electric. Helix’s board of directors also wants its district to be part of the solution – to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to the sustainability of the communities it serves and the sustainability of California’s water resources.

The Power Your Drive program is for companies and their employees, and apartment and condominium complexes and their residents, and is part of SDG&E’s commitment to comply with Governor Brown’s goal of having 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles in California by 2025. SDG&E has installed more than 900 electric vehicle charging nozzles to date. The power utility’s goal is to install 3,000 nozzles at about 300 sites throughout San Diego County.

Controlling energy costs a priority for the Helix Water District

Front to back: Helix board president Kathleen Hedberg, Helix director Mark Gracyk, Lemon Grove councilwoman Jennifer Mendoza, Helix director Dan McMillan, El Cajon deputy director of public works Yazmin Arellano, SDG&E electric vehicle customer solutions manager Lianna Rios and La Mesa analyst Jenny Lybeck. Arellano and Lybeck manage their city’s climate action plan. Photo: Courtesy Helix Water District

Front to back: Helix board President Kathleen Hedberg, Helix Director Mark Gracyk, Lemon Grove councilwoman Jennifer Mendoza, Helix director Dan McMillan, El Cajon deputy director of public works Yazmin Arellano, SDG&E electric vehicle customer solutions manager Lianna Rios and La Mesa analyst Jenny Lybeck. Arellano and Lybeck manage their city’s climate action plan. Photo: Courtesy Helix Water District

Energy cost Helix Water District $2.2 million during the past fiscal year, primarily to pump water throughout the agency’s distribution system, which serves 275,000 people in El Cajon, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Spring Valley and other unincorporated areas of the county.  Controlling energy costs, and their impact on water rates, is a priority for the district.

Helix maintains operations and design standards that reduce its energy demand during peak periods when energy prices are higher, and it purchases energy through the State of California’s Direct Access Program, saving an average of 18 percent on commodity costs. The district continually evaluates opportunities to replace aging infrastructure with energy efficient solutions. Smart building systems at each of the district’s facilities and a solar energy system at its operations center further reduce energy demands and costs.

One Of The Hottest Summers On Record Comes To An End This Week In San Diego

The final week of summer in San Diego will start out a little hotter than average, then cool off a bit, says the National Weather Service. But high temperatures and gusty winds will raise the risk of wildfires Tuesday through Thursday in the region’s mountains and deserts. The fall equinox occurs at 6:54 p.m. on Saturday. But for reporting purposes, the weather service defines summer as June, July and August. This year, the mean temperature during that period was 73.6 degrees — making it the third hottest summer on record in San Diego.

Helix Water District Is Going Electric

Representatives from the Helix Water District, San Diego Gas & Electric, and the cities of El Cajon, La Mesa and Lemon Grove on September 12 celebrated Helix’s new electric vehicle charging stations in conjunction with National Drive Electric Week and Electric Vehicle Day on September 15. Helix installed 10 electric vehicle charging stations at the district’s operations center in El Cajon and 10 more at its administration office in La Mesa through SDG&E’s Power Your Drive program, which funded the equipment and installation. Installing electric vehicle charging stations at its operations center and administration office is the latest cost control initiative undertaken by the Helix Water District.

Improvements Could Bring More Activities To Diamond Valley Lake Near Hemet

Road improvements and other efforts could lead to longer hours at Diamond Valley Lake near Hemet. “We’re making steps forward all the time. It’s another step,” said Linda Krupa, a Hemet City Councilwoman and chair of a committee looking to increase recreational activities around the drinking-water reservoir. Upgrades have been made to the main access road to protect local wildlife — which is more active at night. Metropolitan Water District, which operates the lake, installed 10 steel plates over concrete culverts on either side of the road to ensure animals can safely cross. It also added rumble strips and signs to slow traffic.

House Of Representatives Passes Bill That Could Rescue California Desert Hydropower Project

The companies trying to build a massive hydroelectric power plant on the doorstep of Joshua Tree National Park got one step closer to their objective last week. The House of Representatives unanimously approved America’s Water Infrastructure Act, a sprawling bill that would authorize and fund projects across the country, from bridge repairs to school drinking fountain replacements. The bill includes a provision that would allow federal regulators to throw a lifeline to the Eagle Mountain hydropower plant, which would be built in the open desert near Interstate 10, about an hour east of Palm Springs, on a property as close as 1.5 miles to Joshua Tree National Park.