From $1.25 million energy efficiency loan to 'The Cave,' Pala Casino Spa & Resort living large this month

Valley Road Runner 5.13.15


The Pala Band of Mission Indians and Pala Casino Spa & Resort were on a roll this week.

First they got news they were receiving a $1.25 million "incentive check" from San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) for energy efficient equipment to be installed in the nearly 630,000-square-foot property. This is the largest On-Bill Financing loan ever issued in California, according to SDG&E officials.

Then, preparations were proceeding in earnest for the grand opening of The Cave on May 23. That's the cornerstone of a $5 million renovation that started in mid-January that also will add a permanent outdoor stage to Pala's Starlight Theatre and Luis Rey's, an indoor/outdoor entertainment venue with a patio lounge and bar.

CAVE will be composed of a 4,300 square-foot restaurant and lounge and a 2,400 square-foot underground wine cave. CAVE will have an extensive wine inventory and will offer guests access to over 480 domestic and imported wine labels.

The restaurant at CAVE will be a modern eatery offering Mediterranean cuisine with an Italian flair. CAVE's lounge will offer an imaginative menu of craft cocktails and again, access to more than 480 wine labels. Entertainment in the underground cave will feature popular jazz and R&B solo artists, duos and trios.

Paving The Cave's way

SDG&E estimates that the improvements will save Pala $250,000 in electric costs each year. Since the utility pioneered the program in 2007, On-Bill Financing has helped over 14,000 non-residential customers finance energy-efficient equipment with no money down and no interest payments.

The loan period will last just more than four years with funds repaid from the energy cost savings produced by the equipment. Government-funded customers such as Pala are eligible to finance projects that meet the payback period of up to 10 years. Given the project size, it is estimated that it will be paid back in less than three and a half years.

"On-Bill Financing helps our business customers invest in improvements that will help them save on their energy bills and reduce their carbon footprint," said Caroline Winn, vice president of customer services for SDG&E.

"Today's milestone is an example of SDG&E's commitment to providing our customers with the resources and opportunities to develop affordable and reliable energy options, while achieving their energy efficiency and sustainability goals," Winn said.

Pala also added an Energy Management System in order to monitor energy usage through SDG&E's program. In general, Pala is estimated to save 145 kilowatts (kW) of electricity annually.

"Our recent energy efficiency investments continue Pala's long tradition and commitment to preserve the environment while providing our guests with a complete entertainment experience," said Bill Bembenek, Pala's chief executive officer. "SDG&E has been a great energy partner and we are looking forward to the significant future cost savings.

On-Bill Financing has helped more than 1,400 non-residential customers since the utility pioneered the program in 2007. More than $46.6 million in energy-efficient equipment has been financed through On-Bill Financing, which lends funds to commercial non-residential customers in good standing with the utility to purchase qualifying equipment with no money down and no interest payments.

To learn more about On-Bill Financing, visit

Pala Band of Mission Indians

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