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By Joe Naiman
Village News reporter 

FPUD working to reduce electricity costs


Last updated 1/6/2021 at 3:38pm

The Fallbrook Public Utility District is working with the California Public Utilities Commission to secure CPUC grant funding which will reduce FPUD's electricity costs.

A non-voting item at FPUD's Dec. 7 board meeting addressed FPUD's efforts to reduce electricity expenses. The program would utilize Tesla battery walls and is expected to save FPUD more than $100,000 annually in electricity expenses.

"That savings is really important," said FPUD purchasing/warehouse supervisor Kevin Collins. "Those energy costs are really one of our biggest drivers."

FPUD staff has been working to obtain grant funding for battery projects which would reduce electricity costs. The CPUC awards grants to public utilities to obtain battery backups which would function as electricity generators and would also allow the storage of energy so that the utility does not need to use energy from the grid during peak hours.

In June 2020, FPUD and Tesla entered into a partnership to obtain CPUC equity resiliency grant funding. If the grant is received, it would pay for Tesla battery walls to be installed, operated, and maintained by Tesla at FPUD's wastewater treatment plant and at three FPUD pump stations.

The battery walls would provide backup power, and they would also utilize programming which charges the batteries during off-peak hours and powers FPUD equipment through the batteries during peak electrical demand times.

Tesla estimates that FPUD could save $117,609 annually in electric bill payments. FPUD and Tesla would have a 10-year agreement in which Tesla would own the batteries and related equipment during that time and FPUD would take over ownership at the end of the agreement period. FPUD's electric bill savings over the 10-year period are estimated at $1,258,163.

FPUD and Tesla are working together to submit an equity reliability grant application to the CPUC. If the grant is awarded, the funding would cover the cost of the equipment, its installation, and 10 years of operation and maintenance, so the only expense FPUD would have would be the staff time incurred to provide information to Tesla.

Tesla is in the process of designing the battery walls for the wastewater treatment plant and has submitted applications for the three FPUD pump stations.

FPUD and Tesla currently have no estimated date for the completion of the project. Once the funding has been obtained and schedule plans are finalized contingent upon board approval the battery walls will be on the docket of a future FPUD board meeting.


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