Posts Tagged ‘dpu’

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Richmond Water Rate Reformers Respond to Utility Report

Richmond water rate reformers had been eagerly anticipating the Sept. 17th City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities Report to Council (pursuant to City ordinances 2013-58-77 and 2013-61-79, study performed by DPU with consultant Ratfelis Financial Consultants). A copy of the study was finally earlier this month and is attached to this press release. Disturbingly, the report has not been worth the wait. It lacks substance and appears to be written to support the existing rate structure. At this point, City Council has asked it’s staff to review and make some comments and recommendations for next steps, which suggests that it will consider the issue further in the next budget cycle.
Citizens are urged to contact the press and their City Council representative and ask why the base charges cannot be further reduced and why the PILOT for federal tax is still part of their bills. 

Report lacks substance:
Pages    Topics
00-01    Table of contents
02-03    Executive summary
04-05    Purpose
06-09    Concepts
10-12    Reconciliation
13-13    Expenses
14-15    PILOT cost
16-20    Affordability measures
21-26    Low Income assistance

The only things new are some subsidy ideas, which are arguably not the purpose of DPU. There is no consideration for the relatively high base charges of $26.11 (which Mayor Jones only partially addressed last year) or the unlawfulness or appropriateness of the federal PILOT (payment in lieu of federal taxes, which, again, no private business pays to the City). In the report chart (page 3) showing how rates would change if this PILOT payment in lieu of federal income tax was eliminated, instead of showing a reduction in the base service charge, the report shows only a reduction in the volumetric charge. It does not justify the allocation of the charges to the base service charge vs. the volumetric charge.  (more…)

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Here is an update on the issue of the Water utility charges in the City of Richmond. The current charges hurt low income and elderly folks while subsidizing corporations and businesses water usage. Its bad for our low income residents and bad for the environment. From Scott Burger:

Hey everybody,

I hope you all had a great summer.

We will be ramping up the Richmond, VA water rate reform campaign again this October.

For one thing today (Sept. 30) is the day that the City utility should be presenting some options to City Council. Also, the new format for utility bills should be rolling out. You may have seen that DPU is also working on their efforts with a “Citizens’ Academy”.

Here is the “311” on that:

“The city of Richmond Department of Public Utilities introduces a four- session course to give participants a working knowledge of their public utilities provider. Each course consists of a classroom portion and ends with a tour of the utility functions discussed. Participants are encouraged to register for all four courses. Class size is limited to 20 students. Each class is scheduled on a Tuesday afternoon from 4–6 p.m. in October at various locations throughout the utility.

“Our goal is to create a better understanding of how the utility manages the important resources entrusted to us and provide our customers with an educational, interesting and engaging experience,” said Utilities Director Bob Steidel.

· SESSION 1: Oct. 1, 2013 – DPU Operations Center Atrium
400 Jefferson Davis Highway, Richmond, VA 23224
· SESSION 2: Oct. 8, 2013 – Wastewater Treatment Plant
1400 Brander Street, Richmond, VA 23224
· SESSION 3: Oct. 15, 2013 – Water Treatment Plant
3920 Douglasdale Road, Richmond, VA 23221
· SESSION 4: Oct. 22, 2013 – DPU Operations Center Atrium
400 Jefferson Davis Highway, Richmond, VA 23224
All sessions take place from 4-6 p.m.

For questions or to register, call or email DPU Public Relations and
(more…)

Here is an update from Scott Burger and the Better Government Richmond organization. While us Wingnuts think a better government would be no government, we can definitely get behind this issue of the water utility rate in Richmond, as it directly effects low income folks, the elderly, and the environment.

Folks,

We are running out of time. Richmond City Council appears to be using email discussions and phone calls to hash out most of the disputes over the budget amendments that will be considered at the noon meeting Monday, May 6, and approved after an essentially Potemkin-village public hearing at a special meeting set for 5 p.m. Wednesday May 15. (Council must approve its school budget by May 15 and has decided to do all of the budget papers at that meeting so nothing the public says will have any influence on the proceedings.) If you have not yet done so, now is the time to question City Council members about the water rate situation, especially the PILOT.

Also, look in the Richmond Free Press issue that comes out today. We are hoping for an article on the utility rate situation.

Also, as I have always said that the water rates campaign is also a campaign for open government and transparency, please check out Better Government’s new video:

Better Government Richmond Releases Water Utility Video

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Contact: Rick Tatnall, (804) 325-3674, rick@replenishrichmond.com

Better Government Richmond, a citizen advocacy organization, is pleased to announce the release of a new video about the City of Richmond Water Utility Charges and Rates. Better Government members produced this video in order to inform the public about the Mayor’s proposed plan that is under review by City Council. Better Government mentioned a study of the water utility by paid consultants as one of its top issues in its first press release in February.

The 9-minute video includes information regarding the consultants’ study as well as an explanation of charges on a sample City of Richmond utility bill. It has been made available online at Vimeo.com as well as on Better Government Richmond’s website and Facebook page. Supporters are asked to share with their neighbors and contacts.

The Vimeo.com url is http://vimeo.com/64618134

See also:

http://www.bg-us.org
http://www.facebook.com/BetterGovernmentRichmond

Supporters of better government for the city are encouraged to visit the website and register on the “Join” page. Also “like” us on Facebook.

The next Better Government meeting is Tuesday, May 7, 2013 at 1 PM and will be held in the café of the Library of Virginia, 800 East Broad Street, Richmond, VA. There will be a question and comment period open to the public.

Thanks,
Scott Burger