Burbank sinks pool-energy plan

first_imgBURBANK – In 2001, Burbank city officials introduced “Splash into Savings” as a way to cut pool-related energy use, increase conservation awareness and showcase “green” alternatives after the California energy crisis. Pool owners would pledge to set their pumps between 10 p.m. and noon. In return, they’d get a $5 break on their utility bills. But four years later, about one-third of the 784 participating residents had their timers set during the hottest times of the day – thanks to the pool guy – disqualifying them from the program. “Savings” didn’t save a whole lot of energy either. The program represented one-fifth of 1 percent of the city’s peak demand for electricity. Councilman Dave Golonski, who was enrolled in the program, said he hopes the BWP comes up with better alternatives to conserving power. “It was a good idea going in … but apparently it didn’t work out,” he said. “I would have liked it to work. But I’m sure the BWP has a number of other ideas behind it.” Officials found many residents out of compliance after several months of random inspections of pool pumps. After letters were issued to those residents informing them they were being cut from the program, City Hall felt the heat. “Customers were literally incensed that, through no perceived fault of their own, they were being removed,” Davis wrote in his report. City officials refused to provide a list of the participants, citing privacy issues. Jeanette Meyer, the BWP’s marketing manager, said officials had a hard time contacting pool cleaners to coordinate schedules. To make the program more effective, more time and effort would be needed to police it. “We don’t want to do a lot of policing,” she said. Jason Kandel, (818) 546-3306 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals As a result, the City Council sank the program last week, voting unanimously to end it. “It was expected that this program would marginally, yet positively, reduce peak requirements,” Ron Davis, the head of Burbank Water and Power, wrote in his report to the council. “It has failed to do so.” Officials said many pool owners in the program hired cleaners to maintain their pools, and that the settings were frequently changed to coincide with the pool-cleaning schedules but weren’t reset. Bill Thuesen, owner of Burbank Pool Supply, said most cleaners run the pumps during the hottest part of the day because “you want your pump running when all the bad things are happening to your pool.” “Hot sun, a lot of swimmers, airborne bacteria,” he said. “I don’t think that it’s worth the small refund to take a chance on something bad happening to the pool. You have a much better chance of growing algae or having unsanitary water when the pump isn’t running.” last_img read more