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Letter: What are the reasons for BWP rate increases?

April 22, 2014

Recently, Burbank Water and Power customers were notified of significant proposed rate increases for water, refuse and sewer services. The notice of public hearing that was provided to customers contains detailed information about the current and new rates but does not clearly explain the reasons for the increases. BWP needs to know that the people can't be fooled all of the time and that it needs to be more forthcoming about the actual reasons for the increases.

The notice states that the increase for water services is due to the increased cost of purchased water, but does not state the city's actual cost for purchased water. Isn't that an important part of the equation? The proposal also states that the refuse collection fee increases are needed to meet “rising operational costs” but does not state what those actually are. Could “rising operational costs” be a euphemism for increased employee salaries and benefits? Included in the proposal are increased charges for the refuse containers. Do those containers require certain maintenance that would justify increased fees when customers might have been using the same containers for many years? Sewer charge increases are similarly explained as being due to rising costs without specifying those costs in dollar amounts.

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Before these rate increases are approved, BWP needs to inform its customers of the true costs involved and specifically how the rate increases will be utilized. BWP should not attempt to justify substantial rate increases with very incomplete information. That is known as deception.

Thomas Saito
Burbank

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