Lancaster, CA. September 11, 2020 — Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris and City Council approved to update the rates of level two electric vehicle (EV) charging stations during the City Council Meeting on Tuesday, September 8.

Council was presented with a proposal to update networked level two EV charging station rates and decrease the rate for city-owned fast-charging stations to encourage the use of EV charging stations.

To update the charging costs and make them more affordable, City Council approved to decrease the per kWh charge from $0.50 to $0.26. In addition to the per kWh rate, users will also be charged a $1.00 per session initiation charge. The station fee charged after the first four hours of charging will decrease from $5.00 per hour to $1.50 per hour. Staff worked with Charge Point to ensure that the updated energy rate and station fee will generate sufficient revenue to offset the costs of the energy used at each site as well as the costs to maintain each site.

Since 2017, the City has continued to expand its electric vehicle infrastructure and many of the charging sites that were planned for have since been completed, including six charging stations at Antelope Valley Hospital, six charging stations at the Sgt. Steve Owen Park and Ride, and most recently an upgrade completed at the Museum of Art and History.

Furthermore, Southern California Incentive Program (SCIP) funding will support the installation of one level three fast charger at Lancaster City Hall and one at the BLVD Marriott. The deployment of fast chargers is the next step in the City’s expansion of its electric vehicle infrastructure.

Once level three fast charging stations are deployed rates will be set at $0.32 per kWh and include a $1.00 per session initiation charge and a $5.00 per hour station fee after the first hour of charging. The $5.00 fee after the first hour will encourage electric vehicle users to move their vehicles once their charge is complete.

Fast chargers are unique because they require less charging time and have the ability to charge up to 80% of an electric vehicle’s battery in less than 20 minutes. Nonetheless, once they are deployed in the City, staff will monitor usage and costs to ensure that the established per kWh fee is in line with fast charger fees in other communities.

In addition to the $40,000 that has been allocated for each site through SCIP, the City intends to partner with Antelope Valley Air Quality Management District to acquire additional grant funding for the fast chargers and grant funding to add additional level two chargers throughout the community.

Lancaster, CA. September 11, 2020 — In June 2020, Lancaster Choice Energy (LCE), an associate member of California Choice Energy Authority (CalChoice), completed the third and final phase of its Small Commercial Direct Install Program, a program offering free energy-efficiency assessments and upgrades to qualifying local businesses in the City of Lancaster. In total, the program helped 201 participating businesses save more than 2 million kWh of energy.
“I’m proud of this program and all its success,” said Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris. “Not only does it help local businesses save money on their energy bill, it also helps them reduce their carbon footprint.”
LCE rolled out the program in three phases starting in March 2019. To qualify, interested businesses were required to have a peak electric demand of 200 kilowatts or less. LCE partnered with energy efficiency expert, FESS Energy Solutions, to complete all assessments and equipment installations. “With all the work that goes into managing a business, owners don’t always have the time to think about energy efficiency and lowering their energy bill,” continued Mayor Parris. “By contracting with FESS Energy Solutions, we were able to make it as convenient and efficient as possible for local businesses to take advantage of the program.”
As part of the program, FESS Energy Solutions visited each participating business to assess their building and determine which energy efficiency equipment they would recommend. If the businesses accepted the recommendations, the firm then scheduled an appointment to install the equipment. All assessments and equipment installations were complimentary.
Across all businesses, the firm installed a variety of energy-efficient equipment including LED lighting, occupancy sensors, refrigerators, strip curtains, and door closers which are all designed to help reduce electricity usage and help businesses save costs on energy.
“We had LED bulbs installed throughout our building and in the first month alone we saw a savings of just over $150 on our electric bill,” said Greg Botonis, Owner of Twisted Exit. “The installers were fast and professional and the entire process took less than thirty minutes for more than 20 fixtures. This is an amazing program from the City that helps small businesses in our community save and thrive. Thanks Lancaster Choice Energy.”
In the final phase, 63 businesses participated in the program and FESS Energy Solutions installed 134 light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and 223 Retrofit Troffer kits, and retrofitted 7,811 LED lamps in 3,294 fixtures. The program has a 100 percent customer satisfaction rating. To learn more about Lancaster Choice Energy and stay updated on future programs, please visit LancasterChoiceEnergy.com.

The Cooling Center at Lancaster MOAH is Open

Lancaster, CA. September 3, 2020 — An excessive heat warning has been issued in the Antelope Valley and other parts of Los Angeles County. Temperatures are expected to rise into the triple digits beginning on Saturday, September 5th through Labor Day on Monday, September 7th. The community is urged to take safety precautions and to conserve energy as much as possible.

 

The California Independent System Operator (ISO) issued a statewide Flex Alert, a call for voluntary electricity conservation between the hours of 3 p.m. and 9 p.m.

 

Labor Day weekend temperatures are forecasted 10-20 degrees above normal for California, and the power grid operator is predicting an increase in electricity demand. Overnight temperatures statewide are projected to be at least 10 degrees higher than normal, which does not allow infrastructure to cool down.

 

The community can actively help to conserve energy, prevent electric service interruptions, and avoid more serious system emergencies by pre-cooling their homes at 72 degrees overnight and in the early morning hours and setting the air conditioner at 78 degrees or higher during the day between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. Consumers can also avoid major appliance use, turn off any unnecessary lights, unplug unused electrical devices, close blinds and drapes, use fans when possible and limit the time the refrigerator door is open.

 

Also, in response to the excessive heat warning, the City of Lancaster’s downtown Cooling Center, located at the Lancaster Museum of Art and History (MOAH), will remain open. These centers provide members of the public who lack air conditioning at home with relief from the heat, free of charge.

 

Located at 665 W. Lancaster Blvd in MOAH’s Hernando and Fran Marroquin room on the first floor, the City’s Cooling Center is open from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Face coverings and physical distancing are required. For a full list of cooling centers open throughout LA County, please visit ready.lacounty.gov/heat.

 

The City encourages the community to always take proper precautions in order to remain healthy during the intense hot weather. The recommendations below can help to prevent heat exhaustion, heat strokes or other heat-related illnesses.

 

·     Avoid the sun – stay indoors from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. when the burning rays are strongest.

·     Drink plenty of fluids – 2 to 4 glasses of water every hour during times of extreme heat.

·     Replace salt and minerals – sweating removes salt and minerals from your body, so replenish these nutrients with low sugar fruit juices or sports drinks during exercise or when working outside. Avoid alcohol.

·     Pace yourself – reduce physical activity and avoid exercising outdoors during peak heat hours.

·     Wear appropriate clothing – wear a wide-brimmed hat and light-colored lightweight, loose-fitting clothes when outdoors.

·     Stay cool indoors during peak hours – If you don’t have air conditioning, take a cool shower twice a day and/or visit a County Emergency Cooling Center.

·     Monitor those at high risk – check on elderly neighbors, family members and friends who do not have air conditioning. Infants and children up to 4 years old, people who overexert during work (e.g. construction workers) and people 65 years and older are at the highest risk of heat-related illnesses.

·     Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 if you need to be in the sun.

·     Keep pets indoors – heat also affects pets. If they will be outside, make sure they have plenty of water and a shaded area to help them keep cool.

If you know any local grocery store workers, please share this post with them! The City would like to thank the hard-working grocery store employees for serving on the front lines during COVID-19. A big thank you goes out to Ashley from the Whole Wheatery for her hard work and participation. The Grocery Workers Appreciation Program awards the first 1,000 qualifying grocery workers a reimbursement on their LCE utility bill. Qualified grocery workers include those from traditional supermarkets (Albertsons, Food 4 Less, etc.), superstores carrying fresh or preserved food (Target, Walmart, Costco, etc.), and locally-owned specialty grocery stores such as Ben’s Butcher Block and The Whole Wheatery.Thousands of dollars are still available and the City urges individuals to apply before the deadline on August 31st. https://bit.ly/2ZVHTSf

Posted by City of Lancaster, CA – Government on Friday, July 24, 2020

If you know any local grocery store workers, please share this with them! The City would like to thank the hard-working grocery store employees for serving on the front lines during COVID-19. A big thank you goes out to Ashley from the Whole Wheatery for her hard work and participation.

The Grocery Workers Appreciation Program awards the first 1,000 qualifying grocery workers a reimbursement on their LCE utility bill. Qualified grocery workers include those from traditional supermarkets (Albertsons, Food 4 Less, etc.), superstores carrying fresh or preserved food (Target, Walmart, Costco, etc.), and locally-owned specialty grocery stores such as Ben’s Butcher Block and The Whole Wheatery.

Thousands of dollars are still available and the City urges individuals to apply before the deadline on August 31st.

The City Urges Grocery Workers to Apply for the Utility Bill Rebate as the Deadline Gets Closer

Lancaster, CA. July 22, 2020 – The City of Lancaster launched the Grocery Workers Appreciation Program in recognition of Lancaster’s frontline grocery workers serving the public during the COVID-19 pandemic. Under this program, eligible grocery workers who are customers of Lancaster Choice Energy (LCE) will receive a one-time credit of up to $50 on their LCE charges for total funds of $50,000. Thousands of dollars are still available and the City urges individuals to apply before the deadline on August 30th.

It is important for the City to be able to distribute the funds completely to properly thank local grocery workers. “Our community has seen countless heroes step up to serve during this unprecedented crisis,” said Mayor R. Rex Parris. “Undoubtedly, when they selected this career, most grocery workers never anticipated finding themselves on the front lines of a global pandemic. With the Grocery Workers Appreciation Program, we aim to provide a small token of our appreciation for the grocery store employees who diligently provide our community’s essential needs throughout the ongoing public health crisis.”

The first 1,000 qualifying grocery workers will be awarded the reimbursement. Application submissions are being accepted at LancasterChoiceEnergy.com.

Eligible applicants must be in good standing with LCE and provide current proof of employment at a qualifying grocery store. By definition, grocery stores include traditional supermarkets (Albertson’s, Food 4 Less, etc.), superstores carrying fresh or preserved food (Target, Walmart, Costco, etc.), and locally-owned specialty grocery stores such as Ben’s Butcher Block and The Whole Wheatery.

Applicants will be notified of approval within five business days and receive a credit on their next bill. The credit, which is limited to one per household, cannot exceed the amount of the LCE charges on the current monthly bill.

The Grocery Workers Appreciation Program lasts until August 30, 2020, or until funds are exhausted. For questions related to the program, please call (661) 723-6233 or visit LancasterChoiceEnergy.com.

Alvaro Pineda, from Walmart, was able to benefit from Lancaster Choice Energy’s (LCE) Grocery Workers Appreciation Program and save money on his electricity bill. Thank you, Alvaro, for speaking to us about how the program has benefited you.

Thousands of dollars are still up for grabs through the LCE program! Tag anyone you know who is a grocery worker in Lancaster. We want to thank them for their hard work on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The City of Lancaster admires the community coming together as we continue on the road to recovery,” said Mayor Parris. “To all grocery workers and other everyday heroes on the frontlines: thank you. We deeply value what you do for the community.”⁠

The Grocery Workers Appreciation Program awards the first 1,000 qualifying grocery workers a reimbursement on their LCE utility bill. Application submissions are still being accepted at www.lancasterchoiceenergy.com/grocery-workers-appreciation…/.

The Whole Wheatery Walmart Lancaster – Valley Central Way Albertsons Food 4 Less ALDI USA Superior Grocers Stater Bros. Markets Ben’s Butcher Block and other grocers, have your employees apply for reimbursement before August 30th! For questions related to the program, please call (661) 723-6233 or visit LancasterChoiceEnergy.com.

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Lancaster, CA. June 15, 2020 — The City of Lancaster has launched the Grocery Workers Appreciation Program in recognition of Lancaster’s frontline grocery workers serving the public during the COVID-19 pandemic. Under this program, eligible grocery workers who are customers of Lancaster Choice Energy (LCE) will receive a one-time credit of up to $50 on their LCE charges.

“Our community has seen countless heroes step up to serve during this unprecedented crisis,” said Mayor R. Rex Parris. “Undoubtedly, when they selected this career, most grocery workers never anticipated finding themselves on the front lines of a global pandemic. With the Grocery Workers Appreciation Program, we aim to provide a small token of our appreciation for the grocery store employees who diligently provide our community’s essential needs throughout the ongoing public health crisis.”

The first 1,000 qualifying grocery workers will be awarded the reimbursement. Application submissions are now being accepted at https://www.lancasterchoiceenergy.com/grocery-workers-appreciation-program/.

Eligible applicants must be in good standing with LCE and provide current proof of employment at a qualifying grocery store. By definition, grocery stores include traditional supermarkets (Albertson’s, Food 4 Less, etc.), superstores carrying fresh or preserved food (Target, Walmart, Costco, etc.), and locally-owned specialty grocery stores such as Ben’s Butcher Block and The Whole Wheatery.

Applicants will be notified of approval within five business days and receive a credit on their next bill. The credit, which is limited to one per household, cannot exceed the amount of the LCE charges on the current monthly bill.

The Grocery Workers Appreciation Program lasts until August 30, 2020, or until funds are exhausted. For questions related to the program, please call (661) 723-6233 or visit LancasterChoiceEnergy.com.

“The City of Lancaster admires the community coming together as we continue on the road to recovery,” said Parris. “To all grocery workers and other everyday heroes on the frontlines: thank you. We deeply value what you do for the community.”

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Post Date:05/01/2020 4:30 PM
Lancaster Choice Energy (LCE) is again offering local businesses free energy-efficient equipment, which helps lower energy usage and costs, through its Small Commercial Direct Install Program. Currently in its third and final phase, the program will be available until funds are exhausted.

“LCE’s Direct Install Program has already helped 138 local businesses save almost two million kilowatt-hours of energy,” said Mayor R. Rex Parris. “This program is a huge opportunity for small, locally owned businesses to save money while reducing their carbon footprint. It is a testament to our success in creating programs that benefit those who live and do business in Lancaster.”

The program provides free, energy-efficient equipment such as LED lights and occupancy sensors to qualifying businesses with a peak electric demand of 200 kilowatts or less each month. Installation is complimentary.

To participate, businesses must contact FESS Energy Solutions, LCE’s partner and energy efficiency expert, who will then contact businesses to schedule an appointment to evaluate their facility and recommend improvements. Once the business approves the recommendations, FESS will schedule installation at a convenient time. Businesses can remain open during installation.

FESS Energy Solutions recommend may include LED lights, including cooler display lights and pool lights, occupancy sensors, refrigeration strip curtains and/or door closers.

“Energy costs have a direct impact on a business bottom line,” continued Mayor Parris. “By taking advantage of this program and using more energy efficient equipment, local businesses are going to use less energy, reduce carbon footprints, and decrease energy costs.”

To learn more about the Lancaster Choice Energy Direct Install Program and get started, please visit LancasterChoiceEnergy.com or call 626-308-3000.

The California Public Utilities Commission released the following statement regarding their response to the recent COVID-19 pandemic. We ask that you share this information with your communities via social channels, newsletter inserts, and any offline engagement that you still may be participating in. The Energy Upgrade California team hopes that you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy during this challenging time.

Download and view the full press release 
here.
CPUC WORKS TO HELP MITIGATE HIGHER ENERGY BILLS UTILITY CUSTOMERS MAY RECEIVE DUE TO SHELTER AT HOME
SAN FRANCISCO, April 2, 2020 – The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) today announced actions it is taking to accelerate the use of its programs to help reduce the impact of anticipated higher energy bills due to many Californians staying at home in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As Californians are practicing safe procedures and following the public health guidelines and Governor Newsom’s Executive Order by sheltering at home, it is likely that residential electric and natural gas usage will greatly increase, leading to higher utility bills,” said CPUC President Marybel Batjer. “Residential electric usage has increased 15 to 20 percent in recent weeks compared to the same period last year. The CPUC is taking action to ensure that this does not become an added hardship for people who have lost their jobs or are otherwise suffering economically due to COVID-19.”

The CPUC is seeking to accelerate the use of two current programs to reduce energy bills in April, May, and June, and will issue proposals to change how residential bills are calculated to reduce energy bills throughout the remainder of the COVID-19 crisis. The CPUC would approve the final changes in a May Voting Meeting to help reduce the impacts of bills in June, July, and August.


The immediate actions taken by the CPUC include:
  1. Using the California Climate Credit to Reduce April Energy Bills: The Climate Credit is generated from a state program that requires power plants, natural gas providers, and other large industries that emit greenhouse gases to buy carbon pollution permits. The credit is a consumer’s share of the payments from the program. The credit is usually provided on customer bills twice a year. The first for 2020 will be applied to April bills to help offset higher bills due to increased usage and will vary from $20 to $60 depending on the utility. Further, the CPUC has issued a proposal for comment (proceeding number R.11-03-012) that would accelerate the second Climate Credit so it would be available to consumers in May and June, which are likely to also be high usage months, rather than later in the year. Historically, Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas and Electric Company residential customers would have received the Climate Credit in April and October. Under the proposal issued today, available at https://bit.ly/2X3NzZd, residential customers would still receive the first credit in April but would now receive the second credit in two installments – in May and June. The proposal will be on the CPUC’s April 16, 2020, Voting Meeting agenda. The public can comment on the proposal at https://bit.ly/2wW67zW. Parties to the proceeding have five days to file comments. San Diego Gas & Electric’s Climate Credit for electric usage is already scheduled to appear on July and August bills and its natural gas Climate Credit will appear on April bills.
  2. Ensuring Full Access to the CARE Rate Discount Program: The California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) program provides a 20 to 35 percent discount on utility bills. Many people who have recently lost their job due to COVID-19 will be eligible for the program. Customers just have to call their utility and ask to be enrolled. Information on participating in the program, including monthly income limits, can be found on the CPUC’s website at [www.cpuc.ca.gov/General.aspx?id=976]www.cpuc.ca.gov/General.aspx?id=976.
“Californians who are sheltering in place, many of whom are working from home, conducting school at home, and caring for children from home, are using more electricity than normal, and likely will face higher energy bills as a result. The Climate Credit proposal we issued today allows us to take a no-cost step to alleviate some of the financial impact to customers,” said Commissioner Liane M. Randolph, the assigned Commissioner to the proceeding that sets the Climate Credit.

“This crisis is a stark reminder that we all need basic utilities, especially when we fall on hard times, and the CPUC is doing all it can to protect that. It is also a time to remind ourselves of the importance of conservation practices in reducing our bills,” said Commissioner Martha Guzman Aceves.


The cheapest megawatt is the one not used. Consumers can reduce their bill impacts by taking some easy steps to conserve energy: turn down the thermostat, keep televisions and monitors on “eco mode,” unplug devices that are not in use, open blinds/curtains on sunny days to avoid using too many lights, and wait to use the dishwasher until it is full.


“In these unprecedented times, millions of ratepayers across the state will likely face higher energy bills from sheltering in place. We take seriously our responsibility to reduce this financial burden, especially for our most vulnerable populations,” said Commissioner Clifford Rechtschaffen.


“We know many are facing income challenges. In addition to the Climate Credit there are resources that can reduce energy bills, including the low income CARE program, which provides up to a 35 percent bill discount, the Family Electric Rate Assistance program, which provides an 18 percent discount, and making simple changes in home energy use,” said Commissioner Genevieve Shiroma.


For information on additional customer assistance programs, please visit 
[www.cpuc.ca.gov/assistanceplans]www.cpuc.ca.gov/assistanceplans.

During this unprecedented pandemic the CPUC will continue to maintain public safety, ensure customer protections, oversee essential mitigation planning for the upcoming wildfire season, and perform all statutory functions using its full regulatory authority in a way that protects its valued workforce.


In response to the impacts of COVID-19, the CPUC is continuing to identify opportunities to help ensure that utility customers in California receive safe, reliable, and affordable utility services they need now more than ever. Steps the CPUC has taken thus far includes:
  • Moratorium on Utility Disconnections: Ordered all CPUC-regulated energy, water, sewer, and communications providers to halt customer disconnections for non-payment. Utilities must also restore service to those whose service was disconnected prior to the CPUC’s March 17, 2020 order.
  • Suspended Renewal Requirements: Ensured continued affordable access to communications and energy services by suspending renewal requirements for the low income programs CARE and the Family Electric Rate Assistance programs.
  • Protecting Contractors: Ensured that large investor-owned utilities help ensure the economic stability of the large contractor workforce that provides energy efficiency upgrades to low income Californians.
  • Reliable Broadband: Asked the largest wireless and Internet service providers to consider temporarily suspending data caps and data coverage charges if they have not already done so.
Read more about these actions and other steps the CPUC is taking to ensure utilities under its jurisdiction are supporting communities during these challenging times by visiting [www.cpuc.ca.gov/covid]www.cpuc.ca.gov/covid.

For a list of consumer protection provisions utilities are enacting in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit 
[www.cpuc.ca.gov/covid19protections]www.cpuc.ca.gov/covid19protections.

The CPUC regulates services and utilities, safeguards the environment, and assures Californians’ access to safe and reliable utility infrastructure and services. For more information on the CPUC, please visit 
[www.cpuc.ca.gov]www.cpuc.ca.gov.
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Post Date:02/06/2020 3:28 PM

Changing LED LightbulbThe first phase of Lancaster Choice Energy’s (LCE) Small Commercial Direct Install program is off to a great start, helping 138 local businesses save almost 2 million kilowatt-hours of energy.

“As a local community choice aggregator, LCE enables us to reinvest in our community,” said Mayor R. Rex Parris. “The opportunity to provide money-saving programs such as these to locally owned, mom-and-pop businesses, as well as local residents, is a big part of why Lancaster chose to establish its own CCA – in addition to creating a more sustainable environment for generations of residents to come. We are proud to offer this no-cost program to support our small local businesses. Not only will businesses use less energy and reduce their carbon footprint with the installation of energy efficiency measures, they will also realize a decrease in energy costs.”

In April 2019, LCE launched its Small Commercial Direct Install Program. This program, funded with $1.2 million from Southern California Edison at the instruction of the California Public Utilities Commission, offers local businesses free energy efficiency consultations and equipment upgrades and installations.

The first two phases of the program provided 12,456 installations of measures that will save the participating businesses a total of 1,853,170 kilowatt-hours over the lifecycle of the elements. These installations will help businesses significantly lower their electricity bills and operate more sustainably.

“Our energy costs have gone down about 50 percent since Lancaster Choice Energy installed the new energy-efficient LED lights,” said Crazy Otto’s Diner Co-Owner Joe Acosta. “The brighter lighting from the new LED lights has also increased nighttime visibility in our diner’s parking lot.”

The Direct Install Program, a component of LCE’s Energy Efficiency Program Plan, offers local businesses free energy-efficiency equipment including LED lights, solar film and occupancy sensors. LCE has engaged FESS Energy Solutions to evaluate local business facilities and identify energy-saving opportunities. Upon business approval, FESS provides equipment installation at no cost.

“As a small business, it’s important to save money wherever you can, so I was really happy when the Direct Install Program was announced,” said The Mercantile owner Janet DePreter. “I’ve been tracking my energy bill and we’re already saving between $125 and $200 per month. Not only do we save on energy costs, but these lights are brighter and don’t create as much heat like the old fluorescent bulbs.”

While funds for the current phase have been exhausted, the Small Commercial Direct Install Program will be available again in a few weeks when the next phase launches. To learn more, please visit LancasterChoiceEnergy.com or call 626-308-3000.