Helix Water District

Helix Water District: Saving Green By Going Green with an Electric Vehicle Fleet

Looking for ways to save on its operational expenses and reduce its carbon footprint at the same time, the Helix Water District has gone electric with its fleet vehicles.

Helix now has six Toyota Prius plug-in hybrids, supported by two arrays of brand new charging stations at its El Cajon operations center and its La Mesa administration office. These chargers were installed by our Power Your Drive program, which is bringing charging stations to workplaces, apartments, and condo complexes throughout the region.

On Wednesday, Helix held a celebration to showcase its new vehicle fleet and charging stations at its El Cajon operations center, which generates most of the electricity it uses through a rooftop photovoltaic system.

Maximizing Savings

Helix purchased its hybrid vehicles over the past two years and received rebates of $3,500 per vehicle from California’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Project. Because the Toyota Priuses average over 75 miles per gallon, the district expects to save $1,000 per vehicle per year in avoided fuel costs.

Kathleen Hedberg, president of the Helix Board of Directors, said the EVs help maximize both financial and environmental savings.

“Ultimately, all of these cost savings come back to ratepayers, helping us to keep our costs low,” said Mark Gracyk, who serves on the Helix Board of Directors and is passionate about the district’s initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint.

Gracyk said Helix’s transition to EVs is important for East County cities as they establish and implement climate action plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Helix serves 275,000 customers in El Cajon, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Spring Valley and other unincorporated areas of East County.

Changing Minds

Hedberg, who took a spin in one of Helix’s Priuses, said sitting behind the steering wheel has changed her opinion. “These Priuses do have power,” she said. “Very nice ride.”