Re: the letter “Increases over five years not excessive,” Mailbag, Aug. 14.
If Ron Kaye's Sunday column is this writer's source, she is misinformed. If this lady's experience of electric rates in a nearby city is any indication, I can be sure that it wasn't Pasadena, Burbank or Los Angeles. All of them have publicly owned utilities and all of them have had rates lower than Glendale’s in the past 13 years except for 2001, when Pasadena had a higher rate than Glendale’s.
One essential benefit of the utility to its residents and businesses is providing reliable energy at a more affordable cost. The payback to residents is in the lower rate.
Glendale Water & Power and the city's general fund cannot be commingled like a household budget. It is not allowed by the city charter. Transfers are only allowed after servicing the expenses and putting money aside for infrastructure.
That the income from the GWP is now serving to provide services can also be challenged. The biggest shortfall in the city's general fund is the increased pension obligation, up by more than $20 million annually from just 10 years ago. So there are no additional services being “purchased” with this money. It serves to prop up the pension investment loses of CalPERS.
Comparing the GWP to Southern California Edison is problematic also. Edison is also a monopoly but at least the investors are stockholders. In Glendale, the beneficiaries of the higher rates are the city's employees. It is their luxury pensions that are being protected and enhanced through gimmicks such as last-year pension spiking, claiming a disability, and special assignments.
We have a lot of work to correct the misinformation campaign of the city hall.