Living in the San Fernando Valley can be a little slice of paradise, but it can also cost a pretty penny. House payments, gas and groceries add up fast, and utilities – especially water and electricity – can have you singing the monthly bill-paying blues.
Thanks to incentive programs offered by Valley utility companies, those bills don’t have to be so painful. Here are some of the programs Valley residents can take advantage of.
California-Friendly Landscape Incentive Program
In terms of water usage, a combination of native plants, permeable pathways and mulch are more environmentally friendly and much more economical to maintain than traditional turf lawns. To encourage homeowners to replace their lawns, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) offers the California-Friendly Landscape Incentive Program. The utility will pay participants $2 per square foot of turf removed from residential properties, up to $4,000. Not only is the cash a nice incentive, but the long-term savings in water quickly add up.
Rebates for efficient appliances and materials
Consumers can find a number of rebates for energy-efficient household appliances and building materials. Energy Star-rated refrigerators and windows, high-efficiency clothes washers and qualifying air conditioners, pool pumps, roofs and irrigation systems are eligible for rebates through LADWP, SoCal Edison and other utilities. LADWP and SoCal Edison also offer refrigerator recycling programs whereby standard-size refrigerators in working order can be turned over for cash. There are also incentives for installing solar panels, including tax breaks. Plus, you may be able to sell extra power you generate back to your local utility company.
Free water conservation equipment
LADWP and other utilities offer free water-conserving hardware to homeowners and renters. You can pick up bathroom and kitchen faucet aerators, which, by adding air to the flowing water, reduce water volume while maintaining pressure. Using an aerator can save an average of 2.5 gallons of water a day, or about 900 gallons a year. Low-flow shower heads are also available for free and can reduce water consumption by 1 gallon per minute, which can add up to an average of 5,300 gallons per year. The aerators and low-flow shower heads are relatively simple to install, do not require any changes to existing plumbing and save money over the long term.
Save Power Days
SoCal Edison customers can take advantage of Save Power Days by limiting their electricity use on a designated day. Before a Save Power Day, participants will receive a text, call or e-mail letting them know when to conserve. On the day itself, save as much energy as possible between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., and your usage will be compared to your three highest-use days out of the last five. If your Save Power Day use is lower than the average for those three days, you will be credited 75 cents per kilowatt hour reduced. With up to 12 Power Days a year, SoCal Edison’s program could save you $100 on your yearly power costs.
— Alexis Kindig, Brand Publishing Writer
For more ideas for local deals and saving tips, go back to Money Smart.