As California faces historically challenging weather, resource, and regulatory restrictions, Pasadena Water and Power (“PWP”) continues to focus on operating efficiently and effectively to provide our customers with the highest level of service. As today’s stewards of Pasadena’s community-owned utility, it is our responsibility to ensure that PWP remains strong and viable for the future.
Undoubtedly, California’s severe drought has created extraordinary challenges for utilities and water agencies throughout the state. Both urban and agricultural water usage is impacted by the drought’s effects on snowpack, groundwater, and reservoir levels. With severely depleted water resources, potential cutbacks in water delivery, and the prospect of ongoing supply issues, conservation and resource planning are more important than ever. California’s water utilities are planning for a future of limited supplies and the resulting impacts on customers.
In Fiscal Year 2014, PWP conducted an extensive multimedia community outreach campaign to communicate the serious consequences of wasting water. To incentivize customers, rebates were increased on all water conservation programs—including the popular Turf Removal Program, which had a 47% increase in customer participation in Fiscal Year 2014. Phase 1 of the Recycled Water Project is continuing to progress, with completion expected in 2017. In the first phase, almost 700 acre-feet of water per year will be saved, which could increase to over 3,000 acre-feet per year after completion of the 6-phase project
Additional regulations in the energy sector, as well as procurement and reliable delivery of renewable energy continue to present challenges with regard to energy costs and attaining renewable targets. PWP exceeded its calendar year 2013 Integrated Resource Plan (“IRP”) renewable energy target of 22.5% and achieved a Renewable Portfolio Standard of 27.2%. To ensure that IRP strategies adequately address the changing energy market, an update to the Plan was initiated in 2014.
The Glenarm Repowering Project, one of the largest capital improvement projects in PWP’s history, made significant progress in Fiscal Year 2014 with the securing of financing and awarding of construction projects. The new power plant will significantly enhance local power generation and deliver multiple benefits to the community by providing clean, efficient, and reliable natural-gas fueled power to meet Pasadena’s needs in future decades.
To increase our efficiency in the management of outages, as well as improve associated customer communication, PWP launched the Outage Management System (“OMS”) in Fiscal Year 2014. The system works in conjunction with Pasadena’s Citizen Service Center and provides customers with updates about power-related incidents as well as other service information. PWP is also leveraging the benefits of social media like Twitter and Facebook to rapidly disseminate information about community and utility-related issues. In Fiscal Year 2014, PWP generated over $249 million in operating revenue, and invested over $81.9 million in capital improvements, more than 31% of which was related to the water and power infrastructure Master Plans. PWP also contributed almost $18.7 million to the City’s general Fund to support vital public services. In addition, new electric rates were approved by Pasadena City Council in June 2014 to ensure that costs are recovered and energy efficiency targets continue to be met. As PWP continues to work diligently in its efforts to be responsible stewards, we’re once again grateful for the cooperation we receive from the community and City leaders. Together, we’ll achieve vital goals for water and energy conservation, and maintain our commitment to a sustainable future.
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