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Riverside Public Utilities Shade Tree Planting Program Surpasses 100,000 Tree Mark

Riverside, Calif. – After ten years of providing free shade trees to Riverside residents, which help reduce energy usage, beautify the city, and lower green house gases, Riverside Public Utilities’ (RPU) “Tree Power” program has surpassed the milestone of providing more than 100,000 trees to its customers.

In fact, with the closing of its annual free shade tree coupon promotion last month, the program has now provided a total of 102,768 shade trees that are estimated to save more than 16.2 million kilowatt hours of electricity and offset more than 20.2 million pounds of green house gas emissions annually.

“This is a terrific milestone to reach,” said Riverside’s Mayor Ronald O. Loveridge. “Riverside has long been known for its beautiful canopy of trees, and this program has helped get the word out to our residents and businesses on the many benefits that shade trees provide them, their community, and their environment.”

RPU’s Tree Power public benefits program encourages Riverside electric customers to plant shade trees around their properties that help to curb their energy use. Well placed trees around a structure can reduce air conditioning and cooling costs by as much as 20 percent.

Through their highly anticipated annual “free shade tree coupon” program, RPU gives out more than 12,000 trees annually. This year, 12,638 free trees were planted. For more information on RPU’s Tree Power shade tree program, visit



July 12, 2011 at 8:46 pm

Author Charles Fishman Discusses New Book

 Author Charles Fishman Discusses New Book

“The Big Thirst” On the Next Green Power Report

Riverside, Calif. – Tune in to Riverside Public Utilities’ weekly radio program the “Green Power Report” on Monday, June 27, at 8:30 p.m. on KTIE 590 AM when host Mike Bacich speaks with noted journalist and author Charles Fishman about his latest book “The Big Thirst – The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water.”

The Big Thirst examines how water, the most vital substance in our lives, is more amazing and mysterious than we appreciate. Fishman brings vibrantly to life in his surprising and mind-changing narrative, how water runs our world in a host of awe-inspiring ways despite our taking it completely for granted.

Tune in to hear more from the author about his insights on our relationship with water and about the creativity we can bring to ensuring that we’ll always have plenty of it.

This program, along with other Green Power Report broadcasts, is available to download through iTunes and via the show’s radio player at

For additional information on the “The Big Thirst” visit


Established in 1895, Riverside Public Utilities is a consumer-owned water and electric utility governed by a board of nine community volunteers that provides high quality, reliable services to over 106,000 metered electric customers and  up to 64,000 metered water customers throughout the City of Riverside.  The Utility is committed to increased use of renewable energy resources and sustainable living practices that help reduce environmental impacts within the City of Riverside and the state of California.

June 24, 2011 at 9:11 pm


Riverside, Calif. – Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) received nine separate honors in the 2011 Inland Empire Ad Club/American Advertising Federation ADDY Awards competition for various advertising, public information, and marketing campaigns from the past year.

Conducted annually by the American Advertising Federation (the oldest national advertising trade association representing 50,000 professionals in the advertising industry), the IEAC/AAF ADDY Awards are the first of a three-tier, national competition that recognizes creative excellence of all forms of advertising.

RPU, which creates a variety of informative advertising, marketing, and customer communications pieces each year, received five Silver, and four Bronze ADDY Awards in this year’s local district competition.

Silver winning entries included the utility’s: 2010 Financial Report; “Scary Bills” advertisement; “Rudy” Energy Conservation advertising campaign; “It’s Better with Water” billboard advertisement; and Green Riverside Press Kit.

Meanwhile, RPU’s “Red Dot” conservation programs advertising campaign; “” water conservation program; Business Programs at a Glance brochure, and “RPU News” employee newsletter each received Bronze ADDY award recognitions.

“Customer communication is very important for us,” said Riverside Public Utilities Assistant General Manager for Customer Relations/Marketing Michael Bacich. “Through advertising and marketing, we can provide customers with information about our valuable rebate programs which can help them reduce their energy and water use and lower their utility bills.”

“To do that in an informative, educational, and creative way, and be honored by the American Advertising Federation for that creativity is very satisfying,” Bacich said.

March 17, 2011 at 9:53 pm

Free Shade Tree Coupon on Back of March RPU Bills

Free shade trees from RPU are back!Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) is once again offering its customers a chance to pick up a free shade tree by simply redeeming the coupon on the back of their March 2011 RPU billing statements at one of four participating Riverside nurseries.

Now in its tenth year, the Free Shade Tree program promotes the planting of shade trees that can help customers reduce their summer cooling costs while beautifying the city and providing environmental benefits.

Through its March free tree promotions and its year-round Tree Power program, which offers customers a chance to receive up to $125 in rebates on up to five additional shade trees each calendar year, more than 87,000 trees have been planted.

Annually, the shade trees planted to date save more than 13.7 million kilowatt hours of electricity, and offset over 17.2 million pounds of green house gases.  RPU hopes to reach the goal of planting 100,000 shade trees by the end of this year’s program.

Customers will have until June 30, 2011 to redeem their March utility bill coupons good for one free shade tree (up to $25 in value) at the following locations only: A&M Nursery, 10333 Arlington Avenue; Louie’s Nursery, 16310 Porter Avenue; Parkview Nursery, 4377 Chicago Avenue; and Parkview Nursery 3841 Jackson Street.

For additional information on this year’s Free Shade Tree Coupon and Tree Power programs, as well as tips for planting the right tree in the right place, visit or call (951) 826-5485.

March 2, 2011 at 11:52 pm

Riverside’s Water Chromium is 20 Times Lower Than MCL


Riverside, Calif. – “Riverside Public Utilities’ (RPU) water has levels of total chromium that are significantly less than the state and federal Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs),” said RPU General Manager David H. Wright.

In fact, as cited in the RPU 2009 Water Quality Report, Riverside’s water averaged 2.0 parts per billion (ppb) for chromium 6, with a testing range of 1.6 to 2.3 ppb during system-wide tests in 2009. “That is much lower than the California MCL of 50 ppb and the federal MCL of 100 ppb,” Wright said.

There is currently no separate state or federal MCL solely for hexavalent chromium, one of two types of chromium typically found in water.  A Washington D.C. lobbying group, which is pushing for stricter hexavalent chromium guidelines, listed Riverside’s water in a recent report among 35 systems tested. 

“While many water providers are well within the enforceable state and federal guidelines for total chromium, the proposed state guidelines that deal specifically with hexavalent chromium are a unique challenge for California water agencies,” said David H. Wright, General Manager of Riverside Public Utilities.

One of the reasons is that chromium, including hexavalent chromium, is naturally occurring and has shown up for centuries in groundwater supplies like those Riverside relies on. Most water agencies in California’s Inland Empire region report MCLs’ for total chromium in the 1-3 ppb range. Another reason is that regulatory tests can’t currently detect the chemical at a level below 1 ppb.

The new California public health goal for hexavalent chromium is proposed to be 0.06 parts per billion, a substantial shift in the regulation of this chemical. While not enforceable, a public health goal is used to determine the enforceable maximum contaminant level (MCL) for a chemical, which is enforceable.

The proposed public health goal from the state Environmental Protection Agency represents a dramatic increase in efforts to regulate hexavalent chromium, which also is known as chromium 6 or CR VI. However, according to the state EPA, the public health goal is not a boundary line between a “safe” and “unsafe” level in drinking water.

The public health goal seeks to establish a level that would not cause significant health effects after drinking two liters of water with that level of chromium 6 over a 70-year period. A public health goal does not take into account such factors as the cost of treating all water to that standard or the technological limits in reaching that standard. The maximum contaminant level is enforceable and does take into account other factors, such as economics.

“The bottom line information for our customers is that Riverside’s water, is reliable, safe, and meets or surpasses all state and federal drinking water quality standards,” Wright said.

December 20, 2010 at 10:25 pm Leave a comment



Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. – The Frontier Project Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to meeting the environmental challenges facing Southern California, has announced today that the City of Riverside has been selected as one of its 2010 Environmental Steward Award recipients. The Environmental Steward Awards were established by the foundation to recognize and honor individuals and organizations that encourage responsible use of natural resources and show a commitment to environmental restoration and a sustainable future.Riverside, led by Mayor Ronald Loveridge and the City Council, has long held a commitment toward creating a more sustainable city. In 2005, Loveridge organized the “Green & Clean Taskforce” a group of residents and city personnel who worked on creating the city’s Green Action Plan which set goals for city-wide sustainable best practices such as improved air quality, more renewable energy resources, energy and water conservation, and waste reduction programs.

Through these efforts, Riverside was designated the state’s first “Emerald City,” by the California Department of Conservation in 2009. “It is vital to recognize our roles as stewards of our community,” Loveridge said. “Rather than consume resources, we must use them wisely. We have shown that we can make an immediate impact and set an example for other communities.”

In addition to Riverside, the foundation will also recognize fellow 2010 Environmental Steward recipients Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger; Linda Ceballos, Environmental Programs Manager for the City of Rancho Cucamonga, CA; Casey Dailey, Assistant to the Mayor of San Bernardino, CA; and the City of Rancho Cucamonga at its “Green Tie” awards ceremony on October 16.

December 4, 2010 at 12:39 am


RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Nine years after its first solar energy project came online, the City of Riverside has surpassed the milestone of producing more than 2 megawatts (MW) of local solar energy, enough power for approximately 1,500 homes in Southern California.

Three commercial projects totaling more than 120 kilowatts (kW) came online Monday pushing Riverside’s solar energy totals past the 2 MW mark, just 18 months after it had hit the 1 MW milestone in April 2009.

“This once again proves that the residents and businesses of the City of Riverside are committed to utilizing alternative energy resources,” said Riverside Mayor Ron Loveridge. “It is another step toward becoming a model solar city.”

One of the projects coming online this week to put Riverside over the 2 MW milestone was a 67.62 kW solar energy system that was a part of a new “green” McDonalds restaurant, located at 2242 University Avenue. The 44-year-old restaurant, which temporarily sported green arches instead of golden ones, was completely rebuilt using Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (or LEED) standards.

In addition to the solar energy system, which is attached to a carport shade structure in the parking lot and will provide energy to the restaurant, the building incorporates a variety of recycled materials in its construction, such as insulation made from old jeans and recycled glass for countertops. Additionally, the building uses natural light from windows and tube lights, and has special fryers in the kitchen that use 40 percent less oil.

“It is fitting that one of Riverside’s greenest buildings helped us reach another record,” said the city’s Sustainability Officer Michael Bacich. The owners of the Riverside McDonalds, Candace and Tom Spiel, are seeking gold-level LEED certification for their building, and would be the first McDonalds west of the Mississippi to hold that designation should they receive it (and only the third McDonalds in the nation). RPU will be a part of their neighborhood celebration on Nov. 6th from 2-4PM. “We are thrilled to be part of the solar milestone in Riverside and we wanted solar for so long,” said Candace Spiel. “A big part of why we did this was to show the community what can be done in sustainability.”

In November 2001, Riverside’s first solar project a 151 kW carport structure at the city’s Utilities Operation Center went online. As of Monday, Riverside now has 161 solar projects online including: 132 residential systems, 17 commercial systems, and 12 utilities-funded systems producing more than 2.035 MW of clean, renewable energy.

Solar energy projects, like this one at a newly remodeled McDonalds in Riverside, now produce more than 2 megawatts of clean, renewable electricity throughout the city.

Solar projects in the city began to increase exponentially after Riverside Public Utilities began to offer incentives for residential customers to install solar energy systems in 2003. The Utility continues to offer residential incentives of $4 per AC watt installed, up to $16,000 or 75% of the project’s costs (whichever is less).

After expanding incentives to commercial customers in 2008, Riverside’s solar totals continued to increase. “So much so,” said Bacich, “that we had to start a reservation list for commercial solar funding.”

However, surpassing the 2MW local solar milestone is just part of the larger green goal the city has set for itself, Bacich said. “Our plan is that the City of Riverside will receive 33% of its energy from renewable resources by 2020. These increasing local solar milestones will assist us in achieving, and surpassing this goal,” Bacich said.

For more information about the city’s solar projects and to see Riverside’s “Solar City Map,” visit

December 2, 2010 at 12:37 am

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