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California Water Bill Savings Act approved for water efficiency upgrades

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California Water Bill Savings Act approved for water efficiency upgrades

Senate Bill 1233 – The Water Bill Savings Act – will allow residents to finance water efficiency energy upgrades in their homes, which will significantly reduce their water and energy use while saving money on their monthly utility bills as well. 

“Californians want to be water and energy efficient, but in many cases, the upfront costs of installing efficiency projects and appliances creates a barrier that prevents property owners and renters from doing the right thing,” Senator Mike McGuire said. “For the first time, because of this bill, all Californians will be able to easily advance proven water and energy upgrades that are good for the environment and pocketbooks up and down this state.”

The “Pay As You Save” program will allow residents to finance energy efficient hot water systems, gray water systems, high efficiency toilets, aerators, hot water recirculation pumps, irrigation controllers, commercial dishwashers and several other water efficiency measures on their water utility bills including removing their water hog lawns and replacing the turf with drought tolerant landscapes.

The way the program works is simple. The local government agency, for example the city’s water authority, issues bonds and then issues payments for approved projects once they are completed. The customer pays their monthly bill that includes a line item for the efficiency measures. In the Town of Windsor, under this program the average family will pay $6 on the efficiency utility charge and save an average of $20, equaling a net savings of $14 a month.

“This is a proven program for reducing water consumption and allowing residents on tight budgets to make smart upgrades which will reduce their carbon footprint and save them money,” Senator McGuire said. “This model is currently operating in 13 utilities in six states and to date, these programs have funded over 18 million dollars in projects, and collectively have only seen $3,000 in default, which is less than .02 percent.”

SB 1233 was approved on a bi-partisan vote by the Senate with a 34-2 vote. The bill now moves to the Assembly for consideration.