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Hernandez wants to cut $1.2M PG&E bill by going green at treatment plant

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POSTED March 22, 2012 1:08 a.m.

Councilman Vince Hernandez wants to do everything possible to keep Manteca sewer rates from increasing.

And to save green Hernandez believes Manteca must go green.

Hernandez Tuesday night continued his campaign to get Manteca to wean off “Middle East oil” and save money by going to alternative energy sources wherever it makes sense financially.

His No. 1 target is the wastewater treatment plant.

The reason is simple. Manteca paid PG&E last year $1,024,885 to run the facility. The tab for the current fiscal year ending June 30 is expected to reach $1,198,250. That’s up from just $906,321 three years ago.

Hernandez during budget discussions said he believed the city had to get even “more creative spending the money we have” to deliver more efficiencies.

Phil Govea of the Public Works Department said staff has initiated discussions with a firm about putting in a solar farm at the wastewater treatment plant as well as roof top solar units on other city facilities wherever it makes sense. He added the city is also praising a co-generation plant to use methane gas produced from the treatment process to generate electricity. Currently, the methane gas is burned off into the atmosphere.

Hernandez has met limited success over the years in pushing for green energy programs that would save money.

He’s a long-time advocate of alterative vehicles such as hybrids and even liquefied natural gas for uses that made sense.

“When I got on the council gas was $1.89 a gallon,” Hernandez said. “It is now more than $4 a gallon.”

The council delayed adopting the final budget for the current fiscal year until the April 3 meeting at the request of Councilman Steve DeBrum who was not in attendance Tuesday due to a conflict with his job.

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