Municipal utilities veteran brings 23 years of experience, most recently in Alameda, to new post
RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Girish Balachandran, a 23-year veteran of California municipal utilities, including water, electric and natural gas, has been named General Manager of Riverside Public Utilities. His appointment by City Manager Scott Barber was approved today (12/6) by the Riverside Board of Public Utilities.
Balachandran comes to Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) after serving as General Manager of Alameda Municipal Power since 2007. His first day in Riverside is Jan. 27.
“I’m honored to be provided with the opportunity to lead an organization with such a rich history and outstanding reputation in the utilities industry,” Balachandran said. “I look forward to working with the City’s executive leadership team, the Board of Public Utilities and the City Council to continue to provide Riverside residents and businesses with reliable and affordable water and power.”
Prior to his tenure in Alameda, Balachandran served in a variety of capacities with the City of Palo Alto Utilities, including Assistant Director of Utilities, Resource Management; Manager, Supply Resources; and Resource Planner. He started his career as an analyst with Pasadena Water and Power.
Balachandran led Alameda Municipal Power (AMP) through a series of changes that resulted in AMP recently being rated #1 in residential customer satisfaction. Under his leadership, AMP increased its bond rating from A- to A+; ended years of financial losses by selling a telecom system for $15 million; and increased customer satisfaction ratings every year.
“Girish Balachandran’s background in improving customer service, strengthening Alameda’s financial condition and ‘greening’ its power portfolio make him the best person to lead Riverside Public Utilities,” City Manager Scott Barber said. “He has the right mix of experience and innovation needed to keep RPU moving forward as one of the state’s best utilities.”
Balachandran also helped ensure that AMP is a state leader in renewable resources, and he coordinated the city’s local action plan for climate protection, increasing energy efficiency and implementing Alameda’s renewable power purchasing program.
“Girish turned AMP into one of the most successful public utilities in California,” Alameda City Manager John Russo said. “He led AMP with an open communication style, a willingness to resolve difficult issues and a focus on strategic planning, resulting in a solid foundation to ensure AMP’s success in the future. Riverside is an exciting challenge for Girish; he will serve the community well.”
Balachandran replaces David H. Wright, who announced his retirement in July. In assuming his new role, Balachandran will work closely with RPU Deputy General Manager Steve Badgett, who has served as Interim General Manager for the past four months.
“The City of Riverside’s publicly-owned utility has been very fortunate to enjoy top-quality leadership throughout the history of RPU,” said RPU Board Chairman Justin Scott-Coe. “The Board looks forward to working with Girish to continue that tradition.”