Riverside Public Utilities

Rate Plan 2018-2022

Electric and Water Utility Rate Proposal

On May 22, 2018, the Riverside City Council approved a five-year rate plan for Riverside Public Utilities. New water rates go into effect on July 1, 2018 and new electric rates go into effect on January 1, 2019. These rates provide for a gradual increase in rates through 2022. The decision made by the City Council came after years of planning and public meetings and began with the adoption of the Utility 2.0 Strategic Plan in 2015. Below are details regarding the water and electric rate proposal that led to its adoption.

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See answers to frequently asked questions or view the rate plan document archive.

Why is RPU changing electric rates?

Substation Component Replacements

  • Substations are our neighborhood power distribution centers
  • Many of RPU’s transformers are old and unsafe, failure results in fire
  • 30-40% of rate increase will go toward substation components
  • Old switchgear units need safety features to protect RPU employees

Underground Equipment Replacement

  • About 60% of Riverside’s electricity flows underground
  • When underground equipment fails, it’s harder to find and fix problems
  • New equipment will improve outage response time
  • Bringing underground vaults above ground makes them safer and easier to access

Voltage Upgrades

  • Upgrading voltage capacity from 4 to 12 kilovolts is necessary to improve services to neighborhoods and businesses
  • With more capacity service interruptions will be minimized if we can shift power around when needed
  • Extra capacity is needed for growth and to support electric vehicles and new technologies

Expensive Renewable Energy

  • California requires RPU to receive 50% of our energy from renewable sources (wind, solar, geothermal)
  • Renewable energy sources are roughly twice as expensive as conventional energy sources (coal, natural gas)


Why is RPU changing water rates?

Water Pipeline Replacements

  • Many RPU pipelines were installed right after World War II when construction was booming across the nation
  • Biggest concern: More than 4 miles of large Techite pipe transmission lines are at risk of failing.
  • Nearly 200 miles of old cast iron pipe are likely to fail within 20 years
  • A strong water system is needed to maintain reliability

The Drought and Bond Funding

  • When the State mandated water conservation, RPU lost $33 million due to the 2015-2017 drought.
  • Unable to sell bonds without more revenue, meaning that little infrastructure will get replaced.
  • Our water system needs to be reliable and safe whether we use a little or a lot of water

How is RPU keeping rates low?

1. Excess Renewable Energy Sales, to be realized in upcoming years
$3 - 5 million /year

2. Adding PV Solar to well sites and lowering Edison electric cost
$800,000 /year

3. Transmission revenues from California Independent System Operator
$36 - $40 million /year over next 5 years; helps offset transmission access costs

4. Cap-and-Trade Revenues
$18 million from 2013 to date; $15 million next 3 years

5. Selling Scheduling Coordinator Services to cities of Banning and Rancho Cucamonga
$750,000 /year

6. $85 million Line of Credit
Reduces the amount of cash reserves we have to maintain and lowers rate

7. Western Wheeling and Excess Commodity Agreement - RiversideWaterPartnership.com
$100 million over 20 years

8. 55-year lease with Hillwood
Potential for $45 million

What electric projects do the new rates support?

Project Category Modified Option 1
1. Overhead Projects $89,208,000
2. Underground Projects $139,326,000
3. Substation Projects $88,100,000
4. System Automation $96,574,000
5. Recurring Projects $115,037,000
Total: $528,245,000
Rate Increase: 3.0%

1. Overhead Projects: $89,208,000 10-Year Investment

  • 1,270 street light retrofits
  • 3,080 poles and related equipment
  • 600 overhead switches replaced
  • 12kV conversions in 6 years

2. Underground Projects: $139,326,000 10-Year Investment

  • 62 miles of cable replacement
  • 262 vault replacements
  • 116 switch replacements

3. Substation Projects: $88.100,000 10-Year Investment

  • 7 transformer replacements
  • 5 switchgear replacements
  • 70 breaker replacements
  • 570 relay replacements

4. System Automation: $96,574,000 10-Year Investment

  • Citywide streetlight LED lamp replacement program
  • Electric vehicle charging stations
  • Substation and distribution system monitoring and control

Recurring Projects: $115,037,000 10-Year Investment

Facilities needed to serve new customers and expanded load, including:

  • Services and meters for new customers
  • Line extensions and rebuilds
  • Overhead to underground conversions

What water projects do the new rates support?

Project Category Modified Option 1
1. Water Supply $10,791,000
2. Water Treatment $1,296,000
3. Well Projects $30,499,000
4. Transmission Pipelines $65,823,000
5. Distribution Pipelines $117,790,000
6. Distribution Facilities $19,268,000
7. Reservoir Projects $2,440,000
8. System Automation $39,209,000
Total: $287,116,000
Rate Increase: 5.7%

1. Water Supply: $10,791,000 10-Year Investment

  • Recycled water phase 1 - 600 acre feet new yield
  • Seven Oaks Dam Enhanced recharge project - 1,000 acre feet new yield

2. Water Treatment: $1,296,000 10-Year Investment

  • Partial replacement of membrane filters at the John W. North Water Treatment Plant

3. Well Projects: $30,499,000 10-Year Investment

  • 3-5 well rehabilitations annually
  • 5 new drinking water wells
  • 2 new irrigation wells

4. Transmission Pipelines: $65,823,000 10-Year Investment

  • Techite pipeline replacement
  • Industrial booster station (Hunter Park) pipeline
  • Park Avenue pipeline

5. Distribution Pipelines: $117,790,000 10-Year Investment

  • Neighborhood pipeline replacements - averaging 4.9 miles per year (170 year replacement cycle)

6. Distribution Facilities: $19,268,000 10-Year Investment

  • Canyon Crest pump station replacement
  • Crest pump station replacement
  • Polk/Magnolia pressure control station replacement
  • Replace/rebuild 4,500 meters annually

7. Reservoir Projects: $2,440,000 10-Year Investment

  • Capitalized maintenance on water storage reservoirs to secure and protect water quality

8. System Automation: $39,209,000 10-Year Investment

  • Automated metering infrastructure
  • Production, treatment and distribution system monitoring to improve security and efficiency
  • Operational data management system to improve management control and efficiency