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Riverside, Calif. – Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) is urging its customers to be aware of possible consumer scammers with the intention of making unauthorized billing transactions. RPU and the City of Riverside would never ask its customers for personal information such as a social security number, birth certificate information, Federal Reserve Bank or other government entity routing number in order to make a payment. Any video, text, email, phone call, or website that describes how to pay bills using a Federal Reserve Bank routing number or to use an account at the Federal Reserve Bank is a scam.
RPU contacts its customers only through paper billing statements, online billing emails, late payment reminders, and green "48-hour notification" tags placed at the customer’s address. RPU does not call customers to demand payment. RPU personnel who work out in the community drive clearly marked RPU vehicles, wear city uniforms and display proper photo identification.
"Cyber security and protecting our customer's personal identification remains a top priority for us. Customers should be aware of suspicious situations and remain vigilant," says RPU General Manager Girish Balachandran.
Customers who have any questions about suspicious activities are encouraged to report possible fraudulent actions by dialing the City’s Call Center (from a landline) at 311, or (951) 826-5311. Customers can also file a report with the Riverside Police Department at (951) 354-2007.
Riverside, Calif. – The Riverside Convention Center has been recognized by the City of Riverside as a Certified California Green Business, making the Convention Center only the third business in Riverside to be honored in such a way.
After a ground-up $43 million renovation, the Riverside Convention Center is a cutting-edge facility that contains sustainable design features such as high efficiency LED lighting, occupant sensors for energy management, recycled materials, and drought-tolerant landscaping, including a garden used for fresh vegetables in the kitchen.
"We want to thank the Riverside Convention Center and Raincross Hospitality Corporation for taking the initiative to pursue greener practices in their facilities and operations,” says Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey. "Sustainable and responsible environmental protection planning remains a top priority for Riverside as we focus on the next generation of strategies to drive green initiatives for our city.”
Currently, the City of Riverside offers this program to manufacturing, office/retail, auto shops, hotels and restaurants. Each business sector must complete an extensive checklist in order to become certified as a green business.
"They are the third business in the city to receive this designation,” says Girish Balachandran, Riverside Public Utilities General Manager. "We encourage more Riverside businesses to follow the Riverside Convention Center, OSI Group LLC and UTC Aerospace Systems in leading the effort to make Riverside greener and a more sustainable community.”
Certified businesses become part of a growing network of more than 3,600 companies that make up the California Green Business Network whose facilities are evaluated based on their efforts to improve resource efficiency through energy, pollution, waste, and employee safety.
Scott Megna, President of Raincross Hospitality Corporation and General Manager of the Riverside Convention Center, said he is not aware of any other convention center in the state that has received such a certification.
"The Riverside Convention Center prides itself in not only providing our guests with the best service in our warm boutique atmosphere but also in being a leader in environmental sustainability," Megna said. "From recycling, to low-use water fixtures, to our own farm-to-table garden and citrus grove, sustainability is a part of the unique experience we offer our guests. This recognition is testament to our commitment to providing our guests the best hospitality in an environmentally friendly fashion.”
For more information about the program, visit GreenRiverside.com.
Riverside, Calif. – With triple digits in the Inland Empire forecast, Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) reminds customers to stay cool and conserve energy and save water. California ISO issued a Flex Alert effective Tuesday June 20, 2017. RPU customers are urged to conserve electricity to avoid power disruptions by:
Now is the time to prepare and plan how to beat the summer heat. RPU offers water and energy saving rebates and incentives for conservation measures. Additional water-saving incentives include: rebates for installing high efficiency toilets and clothes washers; high efficiency sprinkler nozzles.
RPU also has a variety of rebates and incentives available for its energy customers including: weatherization rebates on attic and wall insulation, Energy Star-rated windows, doors, ceiling fans, room air conditioners, and select appliances.
"Simple steps taken to conserve energy and water, especially during the hot summer months, make a noticeable impact on the grid and in our community," says Michael Bacich, Assistant General Manager Customer Relations/Marketing.
Riverside, Calif. – Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) and the City of Riverside are aware of a growing number of fraud calls being made to customers and businesses. These fraud calls are coming from an outside company using a recording and our caller ID to contact customers demanding payment. It was reported that the caller ID showed (951)-782-0330, RPU’s Customer Service number, but were given a different number to call back. Customers and businesses are highly encouraged not to give out personal and financial information to scammers like these.
RPU contacts its customers only through paper billing statements, online billing emails, late payment reminders, and green "48-hour notification” tags placed at the customer’s address. RPU does not call customers to demand payment. RPU personnel out in the community drive clearly marked RPU vehicles, wear city uniforms and display proper photo identification.
"RPU takes fraudulent calls very seriously. We have a number of protection measures in place to safeguard against stolen information. Customers should be mindful of the situation and protect their personal information from being stolen or abused,” said RPU General Manager Girish Balachandran.
Customers who have any questions about suspicious calls demanding payments are encouraged to hang up with the fraudulent callers and report them by dialing the City’s Call Center at (from landline) 311, or (951) 826-5311. Customers can also file a report with the Riverside Police Department at (951) 354-2007.
Riverside, Calif. – Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) has been recognized as the only Diamond reliable service provider for electric services in California for 2017. Only 43 out of more than 2,000 utilities across the country achieved this status.
The Reliable Public Power Provider (RP3®) award designation recognizes public power utilities that demonstrate proficiency in four key disciplines: reliability, safety, workforce development and system improvement. Criteria within each category are based on sound business practices and represent a utility-wide commitment to the safe and reliable delivery of electricity. Designations last for three years and this is RPU’s second Diamond recognition by the American Public Power Association (APPA).
"Recognition of this magnitude continues to showcase RPU among the best publicly owned utilities in the country. As we further engage the community with Utility 2.0, our strategic plan for the future, providing Riverside customers with reliable electricity through re-building aging infrastructure and investing in innovative technologies remains a top priority,” said Girish Balachandran, RPU General Manager. "Riverside is supported by a strong workforce dedicated to providing the level of service our customers deserve.”
"Our locally-owned utility continues to provide excellent customer service to Riverside residents and businesses,” Mayor Rusty Bailey said. "RPU’s track record of high-quality service contributes directly to our quality of life as residents and our ability to provide a competitive advantage to our business community.”
Riverside, Calif. – Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) received an Award of Merit from the California Association for Local Economic Development (CALED) for its partnership with the Riverside Community Hospital Expansion Project. RPU provided energy efficiency rebates and economic development rates supporting new construction incentives.
For nearly two decades, Riverside Public Utilities has offered programs and services to assist large and small commercial customers, funded by public benefit monies. These offerings are beneficial to businesses like RCH in order to meet state-mandated goals for energy and water use efficiency. The RCH expansion project would bring 300 permanent jobs, a comprehensive healthcare facility, and a significant amount of local sales tax revenue.
Hospital Corporation of America Holdings Inc. (HCA), the parent company of (RCH) is investing more than $400 million in the health of the community through the construction of a major hospital expansion project to meet the needs of the growing community.
Visit RiversidePublicUtilities.com for more information about RPU services, as well as water and energy conservation rebate programs and tips available, or call (951) 826-5485.
Riverside, Calif. – At last night’s Board of Public Utilities meeting, Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) welcomed its newest members, Jo Lynne Russo-Pereyra and Gildardo "Gil” Oceguera and selected the Chair and Vice Chair for the coming year.
Russo-Pereyra has called Riverside her home for the last 28 years. She is a water industry professional that has held multiple positions in the field, but currently serves as the Assistant General Manager for the Cucamonga Valley Water District. She is an active member of the American Water Works Association, Association of California Water Agencies, and California Special District Association. She holds a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara and an M.A. in Public Administration from Columbia University.
"Having worked in many capacities in the utility field and municipal governments, I hope to bring my knowledge of operational leadership and responsible fiscal management to RPU customers,” said Russo-Pereyra.
Oceguera, a retired high school principal, has lived in the City of Riverside for 14 years. He has dedicated his 37-year career to serving as an educator, holding positions such as middle school and high school teacher, assistant principal, and principal and community college counselor. He holds a B.A. in Spanish and an M.A. in Counseling and School Administration from Sonoma State University and Universidad De Madrid in Spain. As an active member of the community, Oceguera is involved in local PTA’s, school site councils and rotary clubs.
"My career as an educator, which I consider as a public service to the betterment of our community, has prepared me to be an instrumental figure on the Board of Riverside Public Utilities. I look forward to serving my community in this role to meet Riverside’s water and power needs,” said Oceguera.
"I am honored to welcome Jo Lynne and Gil to the Riverside Public Utilities Board. Their dedication to the Riverside community will elevate our position as an economic driver for the Inland Empire as we move forward with our Utility 2.0 Strategic Plan,” said General Manager Girish Balachandran.
An election was held for the Chair and Vice Chair positions. David Austin was unanimously chosen to serve a second term as Board Chair, while Jennifer O’Farrell was unanimously chosen as Vice Chair of the Board. Board meetings are being held at 6:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Monday’s of each month. The Board is composed of nine citizen volunteers appointed by City Council to four-year terms without compensation.
Riverside, Calif. – Yesterday, March 13, 2017, the decision was issued in the dispute over the San Onofre nuclear plant outages caused by failure of the replacement steam generators. The dispute was brought on by Southern California Edison (SCE) against Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI).
The arbitration tribunal has awarded the owners of San Onofre nuclear plant $125 million for defective steam generators supplied by MHI. Of this amount, Riverside was awarded slightly over $1.1 million, and has incurred $488,000 in attorney’s fees to date.
The written decision will not be made public until the parties have conferred regarding the treatment of potentially confidential information in the decision. Until this report has been made public, no further comment will be made at this time.
Riverside, Calif. – In partnership with the American Society of Civil Engineers of San Bernardino and Riverside, the City of Riverside, Riverside Public Utilities and Riverside Public Works Department are hosting the first annual Engineers Day in Downtown Riverside on Feb. 24 in celebration of National Engineers Week.
More than 50 students from Alvord Unified School District interested in careers in engineering will be attending this daylong seminar to learn more about careers in the profession.
"We’re opening our doors to these students so they can truly see the impact engineers make in their community every day,” said Riverside Public Utilities General Manager Girish Balachandran. "Our hope is that we might leave them inspired to pursue this rewarding career through a variety of activities.”
Started in 1951 by the National Society of Engineers, National Engineers Week is observed by more than 70 engineering, education and cultural societies, and is celebrated in February to celebrate George Washington’s birthday, who is widely considered the nation’s first engineer. Its purpose is to call attention to the contributions that engineers make to society, and is a time for engineers to emphasize the importance of learning math, science and technical skills.
"Engineers turn ideas into action, from the electrical grid that powers your home or business to the storm drains that protect our communities from flooding. If something is working, it’s probably because an engineer had something to do with it,” said Public Works Director Kris Martinenez.
If you are a member of the media interested in joining us during this landmark day, please contact Heather Raymond at Hraymond@riversideca.gov or 951-826-5904.
Riverside, Calif. – At the Board of Public Utilities meeting on Monday Feb. 13, staff will present two important reports that will help set the course for Riverside Public Utilities future over the coming years.
The Riverside Public Utilities Economic and Social Impact Analysis report findings will be presented by economic forecaster Dr. Robert Kleinhenz, who with a team from the UCR Center for Economic Forecasting, conducted the independent study that illustrates the value RPU brings to the City of Riverside and the Inland Empire region.
"Riverside Public Utilities generates an economic impact of nearly $500 million each year to this community and the region,” said RPU General Manager Girish Balachandran. "Our customers should have great pride in knowing that their investment into a publicly owned utility has and will continue to pay off in dividends.”
Also at Monday night’s meeting, the Board will hear a presentation from staff regarding its completed 2017-2021 strategic plan. The plan, centered around the utilities comprehensive capital improvement plan, Utility 2.0, provides a structured roadmap and milestones for the next 5 years. RPU’s Utility 2.0 strategic plan is aligned with the city’s Riverside 2.0 plan.
"The Utility 2.0 Strategic Plan was jointly developed through a series of public workshops and involved the City Council, RPU Board and staff,” said Board Chair David Austin. "This plan sets RPU on a path to modernize the utility and ensure that our customers’ needs for water and electricity are met.”
Both reports can be viewed by clicking here and clicking on the agenda for the corresponding meeting date: https://riversideca.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx.
Riverside, Calif. – Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) wants to alert residents that later this month it will begin a water main replacement project located at Arroyo Drive, Daventry Road and Victoria Hill Drive.
The project, which was approved by the Riverside Board of Public Utilities on Nov. 14, 2016, is expected to take approximately six months, will help improve the reliability of the water system and increase the flow of water to fire hydrants by replacing small 4 and 6 inch cast iron pipes installed between 1928 and 1955 with 8 inch pipes made of ductile iron.
Work will include digging trenches for the new water pipeline, installing the new water pipelines, installing new fire hydrants and water services and repairing the pavement around the site. The project will cost approximately $2 million to complete.
"Although RPU knows how important it is to work on these types of projects, we also understand it causes an inconvenience for residents who travel those routes to and from work each day, and for those visiting businesses in the area,” said Girish Balachandran General Manager Riverside Public Utilities.
Arroyo Drive is often a popular short cut for travelers on their way to Victoria Ave., and is also located on the South side of the Victoria Country Club.
Riverside, Calif. – As Riverside Public Utilities gears up for a successful 2017, it welcomes new members to its executive leadership team.
We welcome Assistant General Manager of Operational Technology Mujib Lodhi, to the RPU family, and congratulate current RPU team members Daniel Garcia as the new Assistant General Manager of Power Resources and George Hanson as the Assistant General Manager of Energy Delivery. Lodhi begins work with RPU on January 3, while Garcia and Hanson were appointed to their executive roles late in 2016.
"Mujib, Daniel and George have all contributed greatly to the utility industry through leadership roles, positive project results and expansion of industry standards. We are excited and grateful to have them joining our executive management team to start the New Year,” said General Manager Girish Balachandran.
Mujib Lodhi joins RPU from Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission with more than 15 years of experience in information technology management and leadership roles in academia and the water/wastewater industry. His strength will be strategic guidance on technology initiatives to help RPU meet its objectives for the coming year and beyond. Lodhi earned his master’s degree from Nyack College in Organizational Leadership in 2006, his bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems from the University of Indianapolis and completed the Harvard University Management Development Program.
Daniel Garcia has more than 30 years of experience in the electric utilities industry. He started his utility career in 1984 as an engineering aide and has held various positions including system power and gas dispatcher, power scheduler, bulk power manager, and power/gas procurement manager. He joined the City of Riverside in 2007 and has served in various roles at RPU including market operations manager, interim planning manager and utilities scheduler/trader. Garcia holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from Woodbury University.
George Hanson has served in a variety of roles with RPU since June 2010, including engineering manager and electric field manager. Hanson started his municipal career at the City of Corona as an assistant general manager. Prior to that, Hanson gained 10 years of experience at Southern California Edison. Hanson earned a Master of Science degree from California State University, Long Beach in civil engineering and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California, Irvine.
Riverside, Calif. – Tune into Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) weekly radio program the Green Power Report on Monday, December 19, 2016, at 6:30 p.m. on AM 590 The Answer, as we welcome Gretchen Bakke, author and Assistant Professor of Anthropology at McGill University in Montreal Canada.
Find out why for the past decade Bakke has been researching and writing about the changing cultures of electricity and the three grids in the United States Gretchen calls the "largest machine in the world.”
The multi-award winning Green Power Report has been on-air since 2007 and serves as one of Inland Southern California’s key sources for news about environmental stewardship, sustainable living practices, and renewable energy. Past guests have included area city and utility officials as well as top environmental bloggers, activists, celebrities, and corporate heads.
After their air dates, Green Power Report broadcasts are available to download through iTunes and via the show’s radio player at www.GreenRiverside.com. For additional information about Riverside Public Utilities follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or visit www.RiversidePublicUtilites.com.
Riverside, Calif. – Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) is alerting its customers to be prepared for winds that have been forecast to arrive this evening that could affect its energy delivery services.
Santa Ana winds are common this time of year in Southern California, and RPU asks customers to report any issues due to the winds to Customer Service at 951-782-0330.
Residents are reminded to use caution around intersections where signals may be out and be aware of pedestrians at intersections and near schools. If using a generator during an outage, follow all directions for use and never use indoors or store fuels indoors.
For additional tips and information on being prepared for emergencies or outages, visit www.ReadyRiverside.com.
Riverside, Calif. – Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) has joined forces with the American Public Power Association (APPA) to promote their "Utilities United Against Scams Day” Wednesday, November 16, encouraging customers to be aware of payment scams which threaten to shut down utility services immediately, unless a payment is made.
"There are a number of telephone and in-person deceptions that prey on customer fears that their utilities services will be discontinued unless a payment is made immediately,” said Riverside Public Utilities General Manager Girish Balachandran. "Our customers, as well as those across the country, need to know about these scams and the scare tactics that they use so they can avoid falling prey to them,” Balachandran said. For example, RPU would never call a customer and ask for personal payment information, nor request payment in person at a customer’s home or business.
Customers of RPU are only contacted via paper billing statements, online billing emails, through late payment reminder mailings, or green 48-hour Notice notification tags placed at utility property sites only, and any RPU personnel out in the community drive clearly marked city vehicles, wear city uniforms, and display proper photo identification. Any late payment contact by Riverside Public Utilities would only come from its Credit and Collections Department.
Unfortunately, scams like this have been going on nationwide for several years. Some feature live callers, others automated messages, that threaten to shut down utility services unless an immediate payment is made by providing personal banking info, credit card info, or a PayPal account (or similar). Additional utility bill payment scams that have affected RPU customers include: requests by customers to pay for meter change outs to avoid high bills; and the use of telephone number scramblers, which can trick caller identification software to make it look like the calls are coming from the utility, but falsely represent RPU’s customer service telephone number of (951) 782-0330.
While the phone number is RPU’s main phone for customer accounts, billing questions, and for reporting 24-hour water or power emergencies, for security reasons it will never appear on a customer’s caller ID. Customers who have any questions about suspicious calls demanding payments are encouraged to hang up with callers, and report them by calling the city’s call center by dialing 311, or (951) 826-5311.
Riverside, Calif. – Tune in to Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) weekly radio program the Green Power Report on Monday, November 14 at 6:30 p.m. on AM 590 The Answer, as we welcome Ford Motor Company’s Director of Environmental Quality Andy Hobbs.
Find out how Hobbs, a 30-year veteran with Ford, and his team played a key role in helping the company achieve the number one Best Global Green Brand in 2014, and have been integral in building on the company’s legacy of forward thinking environmental stewardship to continue reducing Ford’s environmental footprint worldwide.
The multi award winning Green Power Report has been on-air since 2007 and serves as one of Inland Southern California’s key sources for news about environmental stewardship, sustainable living practices, and renewable energy. Past guests have included area city and utilities officials as well as top environmental bloggers, activists, celebrities, and corporate heads.
After their air dates, Green Power Report broadcasts are available to download through iTunes and via the show’s radio player at www.GreenRiverside.com. For additional information about Riverside Public Utilities follow us on Facebook and on Twitter, or visit www.RiversidePublicUtilites.com
For additional information on the American Public Power Association, visit online at www.publicpower.org
Riverside, Calif. – Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) presented a senior from John W. North High School and a former student from La Sierra High School with top honors in its 18th Annual Bottled Water Label Art Contest at its regular Board of Public Utilities meeting Monday night.
Sofia Goebel from North, and Kristin Counts, who graduated from La Sierra in June both received $250, an enlargement of their label artwork, and a case of water featuring their customized labels. Goebel’s art teacher Vonn Rosser and Counts’ former art teacher Bill Miller were also honored with gift certificates to a local art supply store, and enlargements of their students’ artwork.
Held in conjunction with RPU’s annual "Splash Into Cash” fundraising and support opportunity for junior high and high schools in Riverside, high school art students get a chance to create their first piece of commercial artwork, which adorns bottled water given out to the schools who can use the water to support volunteers or activities groups, or raise funds for sports teams, uniforms and more.
Since 1999, more than 542,300 bottles have been distributed to Riverside schools through the Splash Into Cash program, each featuring the unique designs created by the city’s high school artists.
This year’s winning entries, as well winning label artwork from the past 16 years, can be viewed online at: www.RiversidePublicUtilities.com/Art
Sofia Goebel, front left, a senior at John W. North High School, and Kristin Counts, who graduated from La Sierra High School in June, show off their winning artwork designs in Riverside Public Utilities 18th Annual Bottled Water Label Art Contest. RPU Assistant General Manager Kevin Milligan, left, and Board of Public Utilities members Vice Chair Justin Scott-Coe, Ron Cole, Kevin Foust, Jennifer O’Farrell, David Crohn, and Chair Dave Austin honored this year’s winners at their regular meeting Monday, October 24.
Water bottle label art by Kristin Counts - La Sierra High School
Water bottle label art by Sofia Goebel - John W. North High School
Riverside, Calif. – Sizzling triple digit summer heat is expected to hang around for about a week starting tomorrow and lasting through next Tuesday, and Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) is reminding customers to prepare to stay safe, stay cool, and conserve energy when they can to help maintain local and state energy grids.
That means you should set your thermostats to 78 degrees or higher (health permitting); keep those window blinds and/or curtains closed; turn off unneeded lighting, computers, and electronics; and wait until the evening or early morning hours to use appliances like dish and clothes washers.
"These small steps add up to big energy savings system wide when we all pitch in together and do our parts to conserve,” said RPU General Manager Girish Balachandran.
Additional tips that can cut summer energy use but still keep you cool include: cooling off with fans, ceiling fans, and room air conditioners. Don’t have any ceiling fans or room air conditioners? No problem. RPU offers rebates for its electric customers who install qualifying ceiling fans and room air conditioners that can help you save money, save energy, and lower your energy bills. Visit RiversidePublicUtilities.com for complete details or call (951) 826-5485.
Riverside residents are also encouraged to avoid heat-related illnesses by dressing in lightweight clothing, staying hydrated, and avoiding long-term exposure in the sun. The City’s Cooling Centers will also be available to residents looking to escape the heatwave. Log on to the City’s web site at www.RiversideCA.gov for information on how to beat the heat and for a list of all the local Cooling Centers, their hours of operation and rules.
Riverside, Calif. – Riverside’s City Council voted Tuesday to follow recommendations by Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) and its Board of Public Utilities to return to Stage 1 of the city’s Water Conservation Ordinance, which will eliminate mandatory outdoor watering restrictions.
"We are able to return to this level of our water conservation ordinance because of the change in how our water resources are now being calculated by the state, and due to the tremendous efforts that all of Riverside’s water customers put forth to comply with the state’s emergency drought regulations over the past year,” said RPU’s General Manager Girish Balachandran.
The changes in status of the ordinance level means that once mandatory restrictions, like those limiting the number of days that customers could use outdoor irrigation, are now voluntary. "We’ve got the water for our customers to use,” Balachandran said, "but not to waste, never to waste.”
Wise use of water by the city, the utility, and its customers are the reasons Riverside was able to return to this level of its ordinance, Balachandran pointed out. "And it will be through our ongoing wise use and conservation of our resources that will allow us to continue to meet current and future needs.”
To help customers keep usage and water bills low, RPU is continuing to offer several water conservation rebate programs that can offset costs of making homes and businesses water wise inside and out. These include: rebates for installing high efficiency clothes and dish washers; free low-flow sprinkler nozzles; rebates for installing Weather Based Irrigation Controllers (WBICs); and the popular water wise landscape program which encourages removal of thirsty turf areas.
Additional changes to the drought ordinance included: new definitions and language updates to match the state’s new regulations; elimination of duplicate standards and language; and clarifications of certain exemptions for gray and recycled water, use of drip irrigation, and splash pads.
Meanwhile, prohibitions by the state on water wasting practices like: watering that causes runoff; washing vehicles without a shutoff valve; washing of sidewalks, roadways, and driveways; and failure to repair leaks are still illegal and can carry fines for failure to comply with conservation rules.
Unreasonable use restrictions are now effective at all times, even without any drought conditions or if any stage of Riverside’s water conservation ordinance is in effect.
For complete details on available programs offered, and for updated information visit RiversidePublicUtilities.com or call (951) 826-5485.