LOS ANGELES — To help low-income customers reduce their energy use, the Board of Water and Power Commissioners voted on Tuesday to continue the Department’s popular Low Income Refrigerator Exchange program, which provides free energy-efficient refrigerators in exchange for older, energy-guzzling models for qualifying customers through 2013.
Over the next three years, the program will provide up to 75,000 new Energy Star refrigerators to qualified low-income customers. The amount of energy saved is roughly the same as removing 128,300 homes from the grid, or 83,300 cars from the road, thereby avoiding 432,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. The total program energy savings will be achieved at a cost saving of $7.4 million compared to the cost of conventional power generation.
“This has been a tremendously effective program, saving energy and money for thousands of low-income customers while significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Lee Kanon Alpert, President of the Board of Water and Power Commissioners.
Lorraine Paskett, LADWP Senior Assistant General Manager of Sustainability Programs and External Relations, said the program is also one of the most cost-effective ways for the Department to reduce carbon emissions from fossil fuel power plants. “LADWP is realizing a long-term energy savings at a cost of about 30% less than the current cost of producing power through a conventional power plant,” Ms. Paskett said.
Refrigerators rank as the primary energy-consuming appliance in the household. LADWP estimates that replacing older refrigerators with new energy-saving models saves approximately 58 kWh per month and 700 kWh annually. Participating customers will see a savings of about $7.50 monthly, or an 11.5 percent reduction in their utility bill – nearly $1,000 in utility payments over the life of the refrigerator.
Since 2007, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has helped low-income customers save about 40 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) by replacing nearly 53,000 older refrigerators with new Energy Star models.
The Board’s vote authorized a new three-year agreement with the Southern California Public Power Authority (SCPPA), which contracts with Appliance Recycling Centers of America (ARCA) to purchase and deliver new Energy Star model refrigerators to customers of participating SCPPA member agencies. The contract with ARCA also covers removing and recycling the customer’s old refrigerator. LADWP participated with SCPPA in selecting ARCA for the new agreement through a competitive bid.
LADWP’s existing agreement with SCPPA expires December 31, 2010.