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Burbank rate hikes should reflect real usage

July 30, 2013

The Burbank mayor's response to the recent letters from concerned customers of Burbank Water & Power is laughable.

Her main advice to the public is to use less energy and buy new appliances in order to control one's expenses for electricity and water. She does not address the true costs of energy nor how our monthly payments are actually utilized. The mayor states that our energy rates are low but, like any monopoly, Burbank Water & Power can manipulate any statistics to prove their point. BWP has a history of a lack of transparency in communicating with customers, from the potential radiation hazards of the so-called “smart” meters to the skewed comparisons of neighbors' energy usage. Water conservation efforts are virtually unknown to residents and there is no enforcement of the rules for water wasters.

It is unreasonable to expect conscientious energy consumers to cut usage to a point where their quality of life declines significantly, and most people can't afford to spend thousands of dollars for new appliances and other improvements in order to save a hundred dollars on their monthly energy bill. Households vary greatly by composition and per capita energy usage is a more reliable measure of actual consumption than is total household consumption. The mayor ignores the fact that costs keep rising despite our best efforts to cut energy and water usage. What customers really want to know is how future rate hikes are justified and how large the increases will be. BWP should provide all residents and businesses with a cost analysis of any proposed rate hikes, including accurate representations of the percentages of the increases that will be spent on the actual costs of energy and how much will be spent for salary increases and perks for BWP employees.

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Thomas Saito
Burbank

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