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Stop the Electric Service Line Vanity Project

Please ask your city commission again to reverse their vote to impose an electric rate increase to be effective April 1st. They next meet Wednesday, February 23rd at 3:30 PM.

They avoided the issue at their last meeting in spite of your prior emails, and there are only three more meetings before April.

After further analysis of this 8% rate increase it becomes clear this is a vanity project at the expense of all residential rate payers, including renters, those living in low income housing, and the many thousands of homeowners who already paid to underground their service line.

Those interested in more detail should read these emails to commission members DeCiccio and Anderson, responding to their explanations of the rate increase.

Commissioners supporting the rate increase and service line undergrounding plan are misrepresenting facts and not addressing real issues. When you remove all the gibberish, this is a vanity project at your expense.

  • There is no financial analysis of the “inefficiency” of managing overhead service lines when undergrounding the distribution lines. Yet, this was used as a justification. I have requested such an analysis but have have yet to receive a response. My back of the envelop estimate of the “inefficiency” of residential property owners being responsible for their overhead service lines is $1,400,000.
  • Yet, the total cost of their program is over $10,000,000. This is to be paid by all 12,000 residential electric customers to underground service lines for about 4,000 customers.
  • The rationale of the Utilities Board chair who pushed this rate increase is astounding. Here is a direct quote, “In fact, at one time we said, let’s just charge all of our customers. Then we said no, commercial people are already paying for it so we shouldn’t charge them for something that they are not going to get the benefit for.” Note that there is also no benefit from his program for 8,000 of 12,000 rate payers who will be paying for it. So, why is this fair and necessary for residential rate payers?

The only explanation for their rate increase is a claimed “aesthetic” improvement from removing poles connecting overhead service lines for about 4,000 residential customers out of 12,000. Eventually, all these poles will come down at the property owners expense anyway, as homes are renovated or replaced. Based on reality, their rate increase is unfair and unnecessary.

Once more, please ask your city commission again to reverse their vote to impose the rate increase to be effective April 1st.

Regards, Pete Weldon

Posted in Policy.

7 Responses

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  1. Terry Provancha says

    Thank you.

  2. John Dowd says

    We all have just been through one of the most debilitating events with COVID impacting our finances and emotions. In addition we are facing major inflation.
    It’s time the City and Comission start practicing some fiscal restraint.

  3. Randall Greene says

    Many residents have already paid for underground services when they purchased their home, remodeled or built it. It’s unfair to have them pay higher fees.
    It’s time for the city commissioners to start using financial restraints!

  4. Ricki McCurdy says

    STOP SPENDING ON NON ESSENTIALS. Fixed income residents can not manage with this inflation and now you want to add an 8% tax. Your totally deaf.

  5. Ferran says

    Yet another increase? We just had one last September of which my bill went up 80% not 20%. Enough is enough. Stop the vanity increases. We are pressed with challenges due to COVID and now shortages and inflation.

  6. Peter Hosbein says

    Other than fuel what cost have increased. The City Commissioners need to explain the increase beyond the direct fuel cost. And there is already a fuel adjustment clause in our bill.

    • Peter Weldon says

      The commission has suspended the $8,000,000 rate increase to pay to underground overhead service lines. Turns out that the cost of the main undergrounding program is rising fast with inflation and they likely will not be able to keep rates below our peers unless they extend the time frame to complete the main undergrounding program AND stop the $8,000,000 subsidy for people who have chosen so far to keep their service lines above ground. Expect the rate issues to be resolved by the end of May.

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