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.
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