News

Community Notebook: Utilities workshop to help shape department's work

City officials looking for public opinions for Utilities Strategic Plan update

City of Palo Alto Utilities plans to hold a public workshop Wednesday to hear the community's opinions on which direction the department should focus its work on for the next three to five years.

The department is in the final stretch of updating its Strategic Plan — a document that will help determine its priorities and implement actions that will bring it closer to its goals of improving reliability and safety, customer service excellence, managing costs, and environmental sustainability, according to Utilities spokeswoman Catherine Elvert.

Since the beginning of the year, the Utilities Advisory Commission has provided guidance as the department worked on the update by identifying key policy, program and operating drivers; recognizing and understanding emerging issues; conducting a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities Analysis; and noting organizational needs.

The commission has input along each step of the planning process, however, final review and approval must come from the City Council, she said.

The forum is meant to be a space where community members can share their opinions about the ongoing strategies and moves for the future.

In a phone interview, Elvert stressed on the importance of community feedback.

"Palo Alto is unique in that it is the only city in California to own and operate its own full-scale utilities services ... so we have a lot going on in this small city of ours," Elvert said. "It's been about six years or so since we updated it (the strategic plan), so we know it's time."

The Wednesday meeting will allow community members, utilities employees and businesses to express their needs, concerns and goals, she said.

"It's really important for us to be checking in with all of these groups to make sure we are hearing and addressing all of the goals for our utilities through all this process," Elvert said.

The workshop will be held Wednesday, Oct. 4, at 6 p.m. at the Palo Alto Art Center Auditorium, 1313 Newell Road. Light refreshments will be provided. Anyone who plans to attend can RSVP at brownpapertickets.com.

Those unable to attend the workshop can send a question or comment to UtilitiesStrategicPlan@cityofpaloalto.org.

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Comments

4 people like this
Posted by larry alton
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 3, 2017 at 1:42 pm

Planning members,
We need lower cost of irrigation water if we are to have healthy trees and flowers in beautiful Palo Alto.
We need to find better ways to provide separate low cost water for irrigation.
Your email address does not work.

Thanks,

Larry Alton


6 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 3, 2017 at 2:53 pm

Undergrounding power lines taking best part of 30 years should be questioned.


12 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 3, 2017 at 2:57 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

How about providing cost-effective service?

How about giving us refunds for the extra 4 months you charged us $25 for a drought surcharge that ended back in February and which you then reduced to $9 after people complained before you finally cancelled it?

How about not spending all that money preaching conservation and then raising our rates because we conserved too much?

How about telling Zero Waste to leave zero waste behind when they empty our 3 cans instead of leaving their usual mess?


3 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 3, 2017 at 3:16 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

PS: Belatedly noticed Larry Alton's comment above about PA Utilities' email for this not working.

It would be funny if it weren't so sadly typical of so much of PA's costly "outreach" pr.


1 person likes this
Posted by Senor blogger
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 3, 2017 at 3:44 pm

Doesn't Santa Clara also own and operate its own utilities?


6 people like this
Posted by EV driver
a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 3, 2017 at 5:31 pm

I'd like to see a Time-of-Use rate plan to encourage electric vehicles in Palo Alto. The city put chargers in the public garages, but most EV drivers charge at home. A Time-of-Use rate option would make charging at home more economical, thereby encouraging EV ownership. It would also reduce the peak load by encouraging EV owners to charge at night. I know Palo Alto had a pilot program a few years ago. That was a great start - it's time for the next step. Note that PG&E has a Time-of-Use rate option, so residents of other Bay Area cities can charge their EVs more affordably than we can.


3 people like this
Posted by E. V. Sparks
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 3, 2017 at 10:02 pm

"The city put chargers in the public garages, but most EV drivers charge at home."

We have to. Those garage units are always occupied. If the city is EV serious it will install chargers at all the parking stalls on the ground floors.

"A Time-of-Use rate option would make charging at home more economical, thereby encouraging EV ownership. It would also reduce the peak load by encouraging EV owners to charge at night."

Bad idea. The city's solar power suppliers shut down at night, so the electricity is dirtier then. It clogs the batteries.


1 person likes this
Posted by Tim Barringer
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 4, 2017 at 7:16 am

As a long time Palo Alto resident, I can still remember how good Hetch Hetchy water tasted before chlorine/chloramine.

What is preventing at-the-center-of-HiTech Palo Alto from treating this blessed elixir with Ultraviolet like the Dutch?

See Web Link


1 person likes this
Posted by Tim Barringer
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 4, 2017 at 7:35 am

Me again.
The web link to how the Dutch use UV to sterilize their water should have been...
Web Link


1 person likes this
Posted by Ken
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 4, 2017 at 8:06 am

Numerous studies show animal power to be the greenest form of energy.


7 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 4, 2017 at 7:08 pm

How a workshop should work, is actually taking it's residents comments and implementing those needs into policy that actually benefits the tax payers of the comunity. Unfortunately, this is usually not the case, it is more of a data mining session on how the the city and the private corporate advisors can potentenally fleece the local community out of it's hard earned dollars.

Just another dog and pony show.


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