Meeting to Focus on Plan to Raise Electricity Rates

As city officials consider a proposal to increase residential electricity rates by 28% over the next two years, some residents are questioning why the city is still transferring several million dollars annually from the power company to City Hall.

The increase, intended to pay off the utility’s debt, was the focus of a Wednesday night community meeting, one in a series scheduled before a City Council vote on the issue next month. East Pasadena residents asked the Water and Power Department director whether the hike could be reduced if less of the utility’s revenues were diverted to city coffers.

Utility director Rufus Hightower said the increase would be reduced considerably if the transfer ceased.

The increase is part of a proposal to pay off $156 million of the city-owned utility’s debt so it can compete when the industry deregulates over the next few years.


Pasadena will allow its customers to buy electricity from any provider in 2000. By then, officials say, the utility will have paid off a sizable portion of its debts and reduced its costs, and will be able to offer prices low enough to retain customers.

The price increase would be completed in two stages. A customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a month would see a $21.23 increase each month in 1997 and another $11.95 a month in 1998, according to city officials. The increase would bring Pasadena into line with Edison rates, which are higher, officials said.