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RPU Receives National Award for Community Service Arts Center

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Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) won the prestigious Community Service Award from the American Public Power Association (APPA) today.

The award recognizes RPU’s School Education Program which demonstrates “the commitment of the utility and its employees to the community in Riverside.”

The utilities established the School Education Program in 2001 to give fourth grade students hands-on experience with electrical safety and energy conservation.

Pressing into service simple everyday objects such as hula hoops, lamps stands and Barbie dolls, RPU Education Coordinator Rebecca Cuevas was able to create fun and engaging demonstrations for elementary school students illustrating how electrical currents are created, stored and conveyed to the customer. The program has reached more than 40,000 students since 2001.

It was such a success that it was expanded in 2005 and again in 2009 to include fifth graders and community programming.

Encompassing water and power, RPU stresses the future of renewable resources, the value of conservation and safety.

“These are our future customers,” she said in a 2007 Public Power magazine interview. “If we can reach them now, they’ll not only communicate some of what they’ve learned to their parents, but they’ll start developing a positive rapport with our utility.”

Ward 4 Councilmember Paul Davis, a member of the city’s Utility Services, Land Use and Energy Development Committee, accepted the award for RPU.

“This award is a tribute to our city’s efforts to include everyone into our aim of becoming a city of renewable energy solutions,” he said.

Riverside Mayor Ron Loveridge noted that today’s award is not just a Riverside honor but an initiative that other cities and utilities could emulate. “I am delighted that this innovative program is now widely available as a national best practice for others cities to learn from.”

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