Utilities FAQs

  • Who pays for campus utilities?  
  •  The vast majority of utility use at UC Davis takes place in state-funded space, and state-funded facilities are not directly charged for utility use.  The Utilities Division receives centralized funding to cover these expenses.

    About 7-15% of the utilities used at UC Davis support facilities that do not receive state funding (e.g., “Auxiliary Units”, like Student Housing).  These facilities are all metered, and the Utilities Division invoices these customers monthly based on actual use and charges the current rate to provide each utility.
  • Can I tour the campus wastewater treatment plant?  
  •  Please contact Brad Butterfield (blbutterfield@ucdavis or (530) 681-8639) or Michael Fan (mmfan@ucdavis.edu or (916) 870-5747 to arrange a tour.
  • Do campus buildings have utility meters?  
  •  Because the campus centrally pays for most utilities, UC Davis was slow to meter utility use at the building level.  However, for the past few years, we have been aggressively installing modern, utility meters.  All facilities that are required to pay for their utility use are now metered.  
    Additionally, nearly every large facilities constructed in recent years, regardless of space type, has been fully metered.  Nearly 90% of the total electricity used on campus is now metered at the building level.  Our goal, as funding allows, is to have all steam and chilled water use metered at the buildings too, so total energy use for buildings can be tracked.
  • How much electricity does the campus use and how much does it cost?  
  •  The main campus currently uses about 165 million kilowatt-hours per year. Thanks to energy conservation efforts, that total has been declining despite campus growth.  Taking all expenses into account all the way to each building, the net cost is less than 8 cents/kWh. 
    To learn more about how campus energy usage has reduced over the years, visit our Energy Story. 
  • What are the current utility rates?  
  •  See: https://facilities.ucdavis.edu/utility-rates
  • Where does UC Davis get its electricity?
  •  UC Davis owns and operates its own electrical substation, which gives us the ability to purchase power from suppliers of our choosing. We are connected to PG&E transmission mains, and we pay them a fee for transmission. Currently, UC Davis has contracts with the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) to supply energy to campus.  WAPA is a federal agency within the Department of Energy that is charged with operating the Central Valley Project, which generates electricity using large-scale hydro facilities.  UC Davis receives 1.2% of the total power available from the Project, which varies considerably from year to year.

     The effective price for the hydropower is extremely low, averaging less than 2 cents/kWh.  In recent years, this hydropower has provided 12-30% of the total power used at UC Davis.  This contract remains in effect until the end of 2024.  The balance of the power used by the campus is also supplied by WAPA under a separate contract.  That electricity can be considered market-rate, mostly non-renewable, power.
  • Why doesn’t UC Davis have more solar power on its roofs?
  •  UC Davis has been deliberate in its efforts to add local solar power as a supply.   Solar power is most feasible when power rates and peak-use surcharges are high.  Because the campus has relatively low power rates and does not pay significant peak-use charges for electricity, solar power is comparatively more expensive than traditional energy sources.  
    Despite these financial challenges, other renewable energy alternatives are even more expensive.  Accordingly, UC Davis recently entered into a power purchase agreement to have roof-mounted photovoltaic units installed on six campus facilities. The campus is currently considering the next round of solar power, including innovative solar thermal/photovoltaic combinations.
  • Is there a Utility shutdown going on in our building?  
  •  Facilities Management will notify building occupants in advance of any building utility shutdown to ensure no research or other activities will be disrupted. To be added to the list of utility shutdown notification, please contact Christina Blackman at cmblackman@ucdavis.edu. You can also visit https://facilities.ucdavis.edu/shutdown-notices for any upcoming utility shutdowns.

    In addition, the Energy Conservation Office reduce utility usage for certain buildings during the holidays to save energy. All participating buildings' managers are notified in advance. 
  • Will a shutdown affect my eye-wash?
  • It can if the shutdown affects the water system in the building.
  • How do I change my unit's utility billing account information?
  • Please email utilbill@ucdavis.edu with regards to billing information updates. You may also call (530) 752-9591.
  • Who do I contact when there is a power outage?
  • If your office or building has lost power on campus, please contact Facilities Management Customer Experience Center at (530) 752-1655 or facilities@ucdavis.edu.