City Council OKs Utility Rate to New Businesses

Jan 14, 2010, 12:00 ET from Riverside Public Utilities

RIVERSIDE, Calif., Jan. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- "Green" and high-technology businesses that open in Riverside, Calif. can get a 40 percent break on their electricity bills in the first year of operation, and a 20 percent rate reduction in the second year under the terms of a renewed economic development rate structure approved Tuesday by the Riverside City Council.


The "green" business rate structure also extends new benefits to high-technology companies and other firms that move to Riverside. The changes are part of an enhanced economic development effort by the city and Riverside Public Utilities, which provides water and electricity to Riverside homes and businesses.

"This is really going to provide strong incentives for companies to locate in Riverside," said General Manager David Wright. "This is another way that Riverside Public Utilities can enhance our ability to positively influence the local economy."

The "green" business electric rate is scheduled to take effect on Oct. 1. The reductions are concentrated in the first two years of the four-year program to ensure new businesses receive the maximum benefit early, when their relocation, permitting and start-up costs are highest.

The new rate structure is consistent with the city's overall vision for its economic development, which calls for encouraging local job growth and expanding the city's tax base. Targeting high-technology firms and green technology/manufacturing companies was a centerpiece of "Seizing Our Destiny: The Agenda for Riverside's Innovative Future," approved in December by the Riverside City Council.

"This is a good thing that hopefully will help Riverside come out of the recession a bit sooner," said Ian Davidson, a local landscape architect and member of the city's Board of Public Utilities, which had previously approved the new rate structure unanimously.

"We support this item because of its proactive approach to attracting and retaining businesses and good-paying jobs," said Ed Konjoyan, vice president of a local realty company, at the council meeting.  "That's to be commended in these tough economic times."

The business retention rate for mid- and off-peak usage is designed to help reduce the impact of the prolonged economic downturn on existing businesses that could result if an existing large industrial user of electricity relocates outside the Riverside Public Utilities service area. The new rate structure targets large, industrial-sized customers because their large electric loads help reduce overhead costs for all utility customers.

In addition to new "green" businesses and high-tech firms, the economic development rate is expected to apply to new customers with a monthly power demand of at least 500 kW and existing customers that increase their monthly demand by 150 kW or 20 percent, whichever is greater. Customers must formally agree to create jobs, invest capital or generate taxable sales.

"There's no down side, there's only up," said Ward 3 Councilmember Rusty Bailey.

For more information on the Green Business Rate, call 951.826.5485.

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 107,000 metered electric customers and 63,400 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.

SOURCE Riverside Public Utilities