California businesses reaping financial benefits of going green

Businesses in the San Diego, California area are learning that they can cut their energy costs significantly without initially putting a major dent in their bank accounts through a program developed by utility provider San Diego Gas and Electric (SDGE).

The SDGE on-bill repayment program pays for the costs of energy efficiency overhauls for businesses that have accounts with the utility provider. This allows owners to make incremental payments to the power company on their monthly gas and electric bills in the form of a no-interest loan.

What many participants in the program have found is that the repayment process is relatively short, and that the long-term savings make running their businesses more profitable.

For most of the customers, the largest savings came from utilizing green technology in their lighting systems. Companies like Lawrence Inc., a home furnishing seller in Encinitas, told the North County Times that by replacing the halogen lighting they previously used in their facility with environmentally friendly fluorescent models, they are poised to save up to $800 a month on utility costs.

SDGE was one of the first companies to enact an on-bill repayment programs in the state, according to the source.

"We pioneered on-bill financing in 2007, and today, it is a model for California's other major utilities as well as those in other states," SDG&E's director of customer programs and assistance, Ted Reguly, told the source.

On Wednesday, the utility provider reported that 1,000 customers had taken advantage of the program since the company began offering it to customers. Businesses can join the growing number of environmentally friendly entities nationwide by seeking an energy audit to help evaluate where the most waste is taking place in their properties.