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Another Utility Rate Increases Proposed

Original post made by JW, Charleston Gardens, on Feb 29, 2008

PALO ALTO UTILITIES ADVISORY COMMISSION ... The commission plans to discuss proposed rate increases for electricity, gas and water, which would begin July 1. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 5, in the Council Conference Room at City Hall (250 Hamilton Ave.). View the agenda



Comments (16)

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Posted by Kate
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 29, 2008 at 5:34 pm

I'd like to post what I am thinking, but I am sure no profanity is allowed on this comment site!!


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Posted by no name
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 29, 2008 at 6:02 pm

Instead of yet again raising our utility rates, how about firing all those utility workers I've seen taking naps in their trucks over the years, their city owned utility trucks being used as portable bedrooms parked under shade trees at or near city parks.


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Posted by Unhappy
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 29, 2008 at 6:56 pm

The Utilities Department has to earn back the $21 Million they gave to Enron's creditors ASAP!!!


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Posted by Engineer
a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 29, 2008 at 7:53 pm

I understand that I am tipping over into the purely political realm here, but I must say that the primary job of the Utilities Commission is to ensure a steady supply of water, gas and electricity to Palo Alto. If supply is threatened, or percieved to be so, then rates will need to go up. The Enron agreement was a savior to PA Utilities, when it most needed it. If PA had its own electrical generation facility, one that could satisfy demand, then that $20M could have been saved.

The most sober analysis, from this old engineer's point of view is that California, not just PA, is on the brink of a breakdown in electical supply, if global warming (CO2) concerns are taken into consideration.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 1, 2008 at 10:29 am

Stop the nonsense. I have walked around my home with synchilla jackets on throughout the winter months. My untility bill grew to over $700.00 per month nonetheless. The rates are too high as they are. Stop making the residents of Palo Alto pay for your bad management decisions involving Enron. Palo Alto Utilities made some incredibly poor decisions, lost alot of money in the process and is now looking to us, the residents, to pick up the slack. Sure, I expect the Commission to try to get more money from us, but the sad comment is that we cannot count on our City Council to prevent this increase or to even address the issue.


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 1, 2008 at 12:25 pm

The time and money spent on silly green stuff could have better gone for time of day metering and cogeneration, the first to reduce demands at peak and the other to actually produce watts even when the sun don't shine and the wind don't blow. Either of those would have substantially reduced the cost of our electricity. Remember, the scarcity and high cost of energy were intentionally created by the Club of Rome Luddites and haters of people. Sell the utilities and use the revenue to pension off some of the architects of this disaster.


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 1, 2008 at 2:14 pm

The time and money spent on silly green stuff could have better gone for time of day metering and cogeneration, the first to reduce demands at peak and the other to actually produce watts even when the sun don't shine and the wind don't blow. Either of those would have substantially reduced the cost of our electricity. Remember, the scarcity and high cost of energy were intentionally created by the Club of Rome Luddites and haters of people. Sell the utilities and use the revenue to pension off some of the architects of this disaster.


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Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 1, 2008 at 7:13 pm

The utilities is a way for the city to pad it's budget without having to go to the voters to raise taxes. Look at the lease back revenue that the city gets from the utilities on facilities, and the various costs that the city puts into the utility bills (like the electricity it takes to run the stop lights).


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Posted by Tom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 1, 2008 at 7:40 pm

If I remember correctly, the General Fund depends on largesse from the Utilities revenue, so the more the City can drain out of the Utilities payers, the more it can spend like......
$180,000 for a statue on California Avenue
$500,000 over two years for a 'professional' to run this so-called tourist bureau called
"Destination Palo Alto"
$250,000 for a consultant to find a new refuse company - when PASCO has done a great job for over fifty years
$250,000 for a website that still is not good
$10,000 for a plaque to honor the Kings who never set foot in Palo Alto
and the list goes on and on and on and on.
Big money to help Benest pay his property taxes
Big salary increases for staff - especially the top brass.
Oh, yes, and big money to establish a "green guru" and department
Anyone want to add to this list?


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Posted by Citizen
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 2, 2008 at 10:23 am

Tom - excellent list. Don't forget the consultants and search firms that will be hired to find a new "community minded & green" city manager. Its too bad "competent and fically minded" isn't in the wish list for the manager.


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Posted by Tom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 2, 2008 at 2:34 pm

The search firm hired by the council on a 5:4 vote over another firm is the same firm that brought us Frank Benest. I'm leery of this firm's track record.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 3, 2008 at 12:51 am

Why aren't we *at least* having a discussion about selling the utility? Maybe that's a bad idea, but why not find out?

I've heard figures like $800M-$1B kicked around as a potential sales price. Maybe those numbers are way off - in either direction. Lets find out. Why not?

Hypothetically, if the Utility could be sold for $800M, Palo Alto could take $100M or so to reduce the cost of infrastructure repairs, or as a supplement to future infrastructure bonds.

We could take another sufficiently large chunk, put it in trust, and generate for the General Fund what the PAU does (generally about $10M annually, or thereabouts).

With the rest, w ecould set up another trust to help offer massively steep reductions to homeowners to "solarize" their homes.

Why not at least look into this possibility, or some variation of it?


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Posted by SOP
a resident of another community
on Mar 3, 2008 at 8:48 am

Add to the list 81 million ++++ For the public safety building..

Remember they most likely will not be able to float a bond. So stick it to the PA Citizens. They always just take it...


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Posted by Grandma Millie
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Mar 3, 2008 at 9:12 pm

The last thing we need is another utility rate increase, especially after the ludicrous Enron settlement. Maybe the PA Utility Department can start paying US for having to wheel all of our garbage, recycling and yard waste out to the curb for them. But hey, it's Palo Alto; what do you want for your $600/$700 a month while you freeze in your Polartec? Enough already.
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I'm tired of hearing how broke Palo Alto is. Maybe PA could do something about all the empty stores and gas stations and the resulting loss in tax revenue??

Now we're going to pay a coordinator a 6-figure salary to promote PA as a tourism destination when other other cities -- like Redwood City -- have done a better job of beefing up their downtowns with entertainment venues like The Little Fox and The Fox Theater. Feh.


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Posted by Tom
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 3, 2008 at 11:05 pm

And don't forget that the City Council will have to help buy a home for the new City Manager and help with his/her taxes since it did it for Frank. And he can stay in his partially city-owned home until his youngest is out of Paly. And his youngest, I think, is still in elementary school. And Palo Alto helps to pay the property taxes.
A teary-eyed council fell for the staying-until-out of-high-school-idea because of sympathy for Benest. If this keeps up, the City could own a string of expensive homes over the next years. I know two struggling widows but the County Tax division doesn't have any sympathy for THEM.


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Posted by Grandma Millie
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Mar 4, 2008 at 3:13 am

Good deal for the City Manager(s), much less so for the taxpayers.

For those who don't know or have forgotten the story of Grandma Millie and Enron, she was the mythical California energy consumer the Enron traders so gleefully bragged about bilking by shoving their outrageous energy rates up her orifices.

Google "Enron and Grandma Millie" and you'll still find the CBS transcripts of the Enron traders which the Bush Administration so blithely ignored. This "Grandma Millie" was over-charged $8,500 in 2001 and none of us Grandma Millie's ever got a penny in rebates. Instead, we got another round of higher rates when Palo Alto settled with Enrons

Just a reminder that many have long memories when it comes to utility rate increases.


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