Rewarded for energy efficiency efforts

Rewarded for energy efficiency efforts
Posted on 03/03/2021
Ozone Generator at the Jonathan Rogers Water Treatment Plant

When a $209,000 check from El Paso Electric (EPE) arrived for energy efficiency improvements at the Jonathan Rogers Water Treatment Plant, it was a pleasant surprise – but one that involved nearly five years of coordination between EPWater and EPE.

Recently retired EPWater electrical engineer Manuel Perez recalls that staff first approached EPE’s Large Commercial Solutions team about the planned ozone generator replacement project at the plant in 2016. The Rogers Plant treats river water for distribution to homes and businesses across El Paso’s east side and Lower Valley.

“In our pre-construction meeting with EPE, we shared our consultant’s study that had an estimated savings of 500 kilowatts once the new generator was in place,” said EPWater’s Perez.

Ozone system overhaul

“EPWater has been a pioneer in the use of ozone systems in water treatment,” said Plant Superintendent Mike Parker. He explained that ozone technology provides effective treatment of bacteria and viruses and also improves smell and taste.

The replacement of the system in 2019 provided the Rogers plant with next-generation ozone technology, improved disinfection and offered big energy savings.

Parker described the system replacement as a complex, major undertaking that took many months. “Our operators and technicians brought all their knowledge and skills in operations, maintenance and instrumentation to bear on this upgrade,” he said.

Energy savings

Equipment panel for the ozone generator at the Jonathan Rogers Water Treatment PlantDon Johnson, EPE’s Senior Energy Efficiency Program Coordinator said EPE offers a wide range of energy efficiency programs for both residential and commercial customers, but this incentive – through their Large Commercial Solutions Program – was definitely one of their larger projects.

“We made multiple site visits to gather pre-installation data,” said Johnson. “Projects this large and complex require several levels of approval at the state level and we were pleased to partner with EPWater to provide them with a commercial energy efficient incentive for such a large and important project,” said Johnson.

After the upgrade was completed and the Rogers plant was fully operational during the 2020 river season, EPE ran the data and discovered the actual energy savings came out to 872 kilowatts, a good 70% greater than originally expected. EPE estimates that the energy saved annually– and the corresponding amount of carbon dioxide -- is equivalent to eliminating the annual greenhouse gas emissions of 859 passenger vehicles from the road.

EPE’s incentive award was based on a $240 per kilowatt rebate for each of the 872 kilowatts saved.

Positive outcomes

Now retired, Perez points out that all electric customers pay a fee for energy efficiency improvements on their electric bill. “It’s nice to get a return on the fee we have been paying for years,” he said. “I’m now encouraging all EPWater project engineers to think about energy savings and possible incentives as they plan future capital projects.”

“We are excited that we were able to offer such a good incentive for this project,” said Johnson. He too looks forward to working together on future projects.

“The new ozone generation system has performed extremely well,” said Parker. “We have seen all the expected energy savings, and that has translated into cost savings. Plus, we can invest the incentive into other improvements at the plant. It’s definitely a win-win success story.”

To learn more about EPE’s energy efficiency programs for residential and commercial customers, visit

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