Town Square

Post a New Topic

For Palo Alto gas customers, relief is finally in sight

Original post made on Mar 22, 2023

After a jarring spike in gas bills, Palo Alto customers could see some relief in the months ahead as the city prepares to roll out a rebate program and begin distributing money as part of a court settlement.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, March 22, 2023, 9:31 AM

Comments (4)

Posted by Moctod
a resident of University South
on Mar 22, 2023 at 10:41 am

Moctod is a registered user.

The headline "For Palo Alto Gas Customers Relief is Finally in Sight" sounds like it was written by one of our public relations staff for the City Utilities Department.

What relief? Other than a one-time court mandated rebate which Palo Alto fought, lost and appealed with our tax dollars, the big gift from the City will be another one-time credit of about $80. That should be of great help to those 6,000 customers that paid $500 to $1,000 natural gas bills in January.

In reality, our city is pulling up its milk stool to the utilities cash cow this July 1 with the following gas rate increases that have been approved with little debate by Palo Alto Utilities Advisory Commission:

1) Transfer 18% of yearly gas revenues to the general fund for the fiscal years 2021 to 2024.

2) Increase the gas cost rates for tier one and two by 21.4%

3) Increase gas distribution rates by 8%, 7%, 5%, 5%, 5% for the fiscal years 2024-2028.

The Palo Alto city management plans to hand you one dime then take back a dollar every month thereafter. The use of the word "relief" is a bit of a stretch.

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 22, 2023 at 10:44 am

Online Name is a registered user.

"While the amount of refunds will vary based on gas usage, the two payments could add up to more than $230 for a typical residential gas customer. This total includes about $80 that the city is considering issuing to each customer. It also includes the roughly $156 that the median residential customer should expect to receive from the Miriam Green case, money that would be meted out in three installments, according to a new report from Utilities Department staff."

Help me with the math: $230 minus $80 = $150 minus $156 = MINUS $6!

Only in Palo Alto could our OWING another $6 could as "relief" -- but I guess that's why they get the big bucks and we're looking at NEW costs of $20,000+ for forced electric conversion even though residential use is only 8% of the problem.

Let's hear it for PA's "prioirities" of mental health and sustainability as voted on by the 384 people who voted on the city's "survey" to dictate policy.

Posted by Morgan
a resident of Meadow Park
on Mar 22, 2023 at 11:15 am

Morgan is a registered user.

The "rebates" are a joke. The city knows they can charge whatever they want, and there's not much we can do about. They can rebate everyone $1,000 if they wanted to. Then they can get it all back with rate increases. It's basically what they're doing. All of the hand-wringing about low-income and cutting budgets for affordable housing or public safety are a joke. They're meant to scare people and also make us think that they really care.

They seem to have enough money that they can hire a person to look for gas leaf blowers. And, that's just the most ridiculous of a list of items that are not nearly as vital to residents as utilities or having money for food.

But, yes, please go on about how the city needs to save money instead of giving back to the residents. And, no, I don't blame Putin (come on Pat Burt!) for all of the gas increases. Other utilities seem to have done a better job at smoothing costs for their customers.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 22, 2023 at 12:41 pm

Resident is a registered user.

Dear Council Member Lythcott-Haims, I understand your preoccupation with low income residents' ability to afford surprise rate increases, but please remember that you represent those of us middle class retired folks on fixed incomes. And for all of the Council members, I found the justification that the mid west suppliers' charge of almost $5/therm suspect. My mid west family members were paying $0.75/therm at the time. It struck me as reminiscent of the Enron experience.

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

In order to encourage respectful and thoughtful discussion, commenting on stories is available to those who are registered users. If you are already a registered user and the commenting form is not below, you need to log in. If you are not registered, you can do so here.

Please make sure your comments are truthful, on-topic and do not disrespect another poster. Don't be snarky or belittling. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

See our announcement about requiring registration for commenting.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Palo Alto Online sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

Los Altos restaurant and lounge closes just months after opening
By The Peninsula Foodist | 6 comments | 7,401 views

Bike lanes don’t belong on El Camino!
By Diana Diamond | 30 comments | 6,573 views

It’s ‘International Being You’ Day
By Chandrama Anderson | 27 comments | 2,305 views

How quickly will we electrify our homes?
By Sherry Listgarten | 4 comments | 1,251 views

Everything Falls – Lessons in Souffle
By Laura Stec | 4 comments | 699 views