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
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.