Energy efficiency and conservation strategies, also known as Demand-Side Management, play a key role in the LADWP environmental sustainability. Reducing energy use in Los Angeles directly lowers greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the LADWP’s electric generating facilities. It also helps customers lower their energy bills and improves electrical system reliability by reducing demand on the system. And since the least expensive kilowatt is the one not generated, energy conservation is the cheapest way to provide power for the LADWP’s increasing population.

Reducing Energy Use in Los Angeles

LADWP has had tremendous success with increasing energy efficiency in Los Angeles. In 2009, the LADWP broke all previous records for energy efficiency, achieving a savings of 318 gigawatt-hours (GWh), or about 1.3% of customer usage. That amount of energy savings equates to removing 53,000 homes from the grid and avoiding the emission of 178,700 metric tons of GHGs each year. The total energy saved shattered the previous energy efficiency record set in 2001-2002, which was 164.2 GWh of energy saved.

Key programs in the LADWP’s portfolio contributed to this achievement include:

  • A one-time distribution of two compact fluorescent lamps to each of the 1.4 million residences in Los Angeles.
  • The Low Income Refrigerator Exchange Program, through which more than 50,000 inefficient refrigerators have been replaced.
  • The Small Business Direct Install Program, which supported the retrofit of inefficient lighting for more than 47,000 small business customers worth approximately $42 million in free, energy efficient lighting and installation.
  • The Commercial Lighting Efficiency Offer, a vendor-driven rebate program offering robust incentives for the upgrade of inefficient lighting.
  • The Custom Performance Program that pays incentives to non-residential customers based on estimated project energy savings.

Current levels of customer participation in the existing energy efficiency and conservation initiatives continue to demonstrate the effectiveness of this programmatic approach. Additional energy savings opportunities exist and will be pursued as funding resources are identified.

LADWP offers a wide range of energy efficiency rebates and incentives for residential and commercial uses. The Consumer Rebate Program (CRP) offers rebates for the purchase and installation of energy efficient appliances, home cooling equipment, and pool pumps and motors. We also offer a rebate to residential customers who recycle older refrigerators and freezers, as these tend to be the least energy efficient.

Learn more about the Consumer Rebate Program

The commercial program features many types of incentives that can assist both small and large businesses with reducing their energy consumption and reducing their utility bills. These programs offer rebates for energy efficient lighting, refrigeration, and cooling, as well as custom programs that evaluate energy efficiency improvements on an individual basis.

Learn more about Commercial Rebate Programs

Grant Programs to Help Save Energy

To leverage and supplement the internal funds available for efficiency and GHG reduction programs, the LADWP routinely applies for federal, state, and local grants to implement projects that shift reliance away from carbon intensive power resources, while balancing the overall costs to residents and businesses in Los Angeles. Several grants have been awarded in 2010 that will allow the LADWP to leverage its investments in energy conservation and innovative technologies.

Weatherization Assistance Program

LADWP has stepped up to fill a void in the delivery of weatherization services to low-income residents in Los Angeles and was awarded $8.3 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to provide this service to eligible households between 2010 and early 2012. This program will provide insulation, sealing, heat system safety checks, and other services to selected households that exhibit a high energy burden and meet other qualifications, as determined by the United States Department of Energy. We expect to provide services to approximately 2,500 households through this program.

Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant

As a part of the City of Los Angeles Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG), the LADWP received over $8 million in funding to implement new energy efficiency programs to supplement the existing array of services and rebates. Three new rebates will be offered through this grant, including a cool roof rebate and whole house fan rebate for residential customers and a retrocommissioning rebate for commercial customers.

The residential rebates are designed to provide less energy-intensive home cooling options to homeowners and reduce their reliance on traditional air conditioning systems. The cool roof rebate, which provides a $0.30 per square foot rebate to residential customers who replace or coat an existing roof with qualified cool roofing materials, responds to a series of studies and programs designed to lower ambient temperatures in Los Angeles. Reducing the heat load absorbed by homes during the day will help to mitigate the urban heat island effect and build upon prior efforts to cool the city. It is hoped this rebate will expand both the awareness and market for non-white cool roof products. The whole house fan rebate, set at $200 per unit, also aims to offer broader benefits than many traditional rebates. A whole house fan brings the outside morning and evening cool air into a home, replacing the warm air inside, thereby improving comfort and reducing the need for air conditioning. The intended benefits of this rebate are to reduce the use of existing air conditioning systems, and to help other customers decide to forego the purchase of a new system to provide home comfort.

The Retrocommissioning (RCx) incentive, which launched in 2011, will provide commercial customers with the opportunity to tune-up their buildings to receive both rebates and energy savings without necessarily requiring a capital investment. It will provide customers with a program that will result in energy savings by facilitating the implementation of RCx measures and optimizing facility performance through technical expertise and financial incentives based on energy savings.

Other EECBG-funded programs include the following:

  • Provide grants to non-profit organizations to develop and implement outreach and public education strategies designed to reach our diverse communities that can most benefit from energy efficiency and water conservation measures, but may be missed by traditional outreach methods
  • Provide energy efficiency and water conservation audit and retrofit services to selected non-profit organizations to save energy, reduce GHG emissions and lower utility bills
  • Support whole house retrofit efforts in the LADWP’s jurisdiction
  • Further the goal of identifying financial incentives to save energy in the multi-family sector

The results of these grant programs will be monitored and serve as the basis for recommendations for longer term rebates and programs.

A Smarter Grid

In addition to offering customers incentives to conserve power, the LADWP is improving energy efficiency on the utility side of the grid—by integrating smart grid technologies. Smart Grid refers to intelligent data gathering and advanced two-way digital communication capacities. These capabilities are being applied to the LADWP’s electric distribution system, providing real-time data that will enable the utility to optimize energy use and reduce GHG emissions.

LADWP was awarded over $60 million in Smart Grid Demonstration Program funding—the most of any municipally-owned utility in the country—to “green the grid” by developing, deploying and testing advanced smart grid technologies in partnership with a consortium of top Southern California research institutes including University of Southern California (USC), University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and CalTech/Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The Smart Grid Demonstration grant will jumpstart the LADWP’s efforts to build a smarter, greener and more efficient electric grid, as well as enhance power reliability, and create green jobs for Los Angeles. The grant funds will significantly enhance the LADWP’s 10-year, $1 billion Smart Grid Program that is currently underway.

Using the USC and UCLA campuses as “test beds” for innovative technologies, the LADWP and the research institutes will gather data on how consumers use energy in a variety of systems. The various studies will test the next generation of cyber-security technologies, and cutting-edge methods of integrating plug-in hybrid electric vehicles onto the grid. This work will provide invaluable data on the benefits and cost-effectiveness of various technologies, which will save time and money down the road. In the future, these technologies will also provide real-time feedback to utility customers, allowing them to monitor their own electricity usage and adjust their behavior to minimize waste.