Feb 232014
 

Here they go again. Naperville city officials are scrambling to make right what they made wrong. If only they could do things right initially by making the right decisions, they wouldn’t have to figure out how to undo what they did.

This time it’s the City of Naperville’s Electric Utility which is facing a gross negative cash balance to the tune of $25 million which includes $14 million currently in the red and another $11 million in a 30-day cash reserve which doesn’t exist.

Naperville residents are asking if Naperville city officials are deceitful or are they inept, or more simply stated, are they flat-out dishonest or are they blatantly incompetent. Let me say right here, that I truly do not believe that they are dishonest. By ‘they’, I mean the Naperville city council including the mayor, the city manager Doug Krieger, or even the department heads. Dishonest…no. Clearly incompetent…absolutely yes.

To be ‘dishonest’ would imply a degree of awareness, and the willingness to circumvent the truth. If they don’t have the awareness, then it’s not a matter of honesty. They are simply in over their heads, and it’s doubtful they have any idea what they’re doing.

To make matters worse for the residents of Naperville, city officials are displaying no accountability, little if any ability to manage performance, unable to manage execution, void of critical thinking, and definitely not building trust with the voters.

For a couple of years now, city manager Doug Krieger, with support from  councilmen Bob Fieseler and Grant Wehrli, have bragged about the beauty of implementing a Smart Grid to the point ‘guaranteeing’ that electric rates would not escalate above 2% this year and next year. They presented beautiful graphs, along with glossy handouts, and brought in  a legion of ‘talking heads’ to dazzle residents with non-sense about the not-so Smart Grid and forced installation of not-so Smart Meters, and how good this was going to be for everybody in Naperville. For those who stood tall to openly disagree, city officials simply had them cuffed and arrested at their homes, and hauled off to the slammer. And then pushed them into the gauntlet of the court system.

Now city officials are saying they have no choice other than to raise electric rates in Naperville well beyond the 2% originally presented to residents.

Isn’t that how it always works. Naperville city officials screw-up, then they come up with a couple of lame excuses, and then squeeze additional dollars out of Naperville residents and businesses to cover their incompetency.

Lame excuses included, unusual weather conditions, unstable energy market, sluggish economic recovery, goofy usage patterns, global warming, global cooling, global existence, all kinds of excuses from city officials.

This is then followed by brilliant insight from city manger Doug Krieger when he said, “daytime usage is always higher than night time, because that’s how people use electricity”.  That rivals councilwoman Judy Brodhead’s comment last year, when she said “chickens don’t bark”.

Krieger also said, “all I know is we have not been as vigilant in influencing decisions as we could have been”. Another classic example of Krieger not accepting accountability. He likes to say ‘we’ when things go wrong, and ‘I’ whenever it goes right, which is seldom.

Krieger was correct in one of his comments when he said “…things are going to have to change,”  It’s time for the ‘good’ members of the city council to make a change in city management, otherwise the voters will make a change in the next city council election.

(This is part one in a two-part posting on the subject of electric rates)

 

 

 

  7 Responses to “Naperville City Officials: Deceitful Or Inept”

  1. What this city needs to do besides firing its city manager, police chief, chief council, purchasing agent and utility manager is to put a halt on ALL unnecessary spending, audit all departments financials, do some basic zero base budgeting and stop the hemorrhaging.

    These guys including the other taxing authorities like forest district and schools spend money with reckless abandon as if it grows on trees. It’s time to hang these people (metaphorically speaking).on their rotten branches,

  2. The City of Naperville (CON), which became infamous for arresting two moms protecting their families and homes from the mandatory installation of smart meters, now faces financial hardship at the government owned Electric Utility, According to policy, the Utility needs to maintain $11M in cash reserves for emergencies. Ironically, the missing $11M was the city’s portion of the “smart meter” costs forced upon citizens, with police escorts. CON denies the coincidence, blaming instead power costs.

    CON also faces a $14M operating deficit. CON’s highly proclaimed $30 M “savings” that the mandatory smart meters installation promised, has now turned into a $30M loss, a net swing of $60 M. The publicized consumer benefit of the ability to monitor their power has also vanished, along with $800,000.00 to a vendor who failed to provide the e-portal, which CON is now suing. Additionally, CON is now saying that the rate study that the city had contracted was flawed resulting in proposed new rate hikes between 7-10% that will be required to attempt to balance the budget. Customers of CON’s Water Utility had their water and water treatment rates hiked, leaving the Water Utility with a $13M cash surplus. Instead of rebating the excess cash to the water customers, CON is considering lending those excess funds to the financially troubled Electric Utility. Residents now face high water rates, nosebleed electric rates, $8.7 M decrease in capital spending of their infrastructure and implementation time-of-use (TOU) billing for their top 20 corporations (a hospital, school districts, grocery and CON itself among them) to reduce peak usage.

    CON states that time TOU billing will financially incentivize users to shift usage to off/peak periods. Reduced peaks, they claim, will improve load factor and save both the Electric Utility and consumers money. Isn’t this economically rationing power so homeowners and business will not be able to use their property according to their needs, unless they pay 2-4 times more for power? Who will suffer the most? The retired, sick, disabled, families with young children, all home during the day “peak hours,” Most are on fixed incomes or entry level salaries, who will be forced to curtail their necessary daily activities to save their paychecks or pay for their groceries. The wealthy, however, will be able to continue the use of their homes even during the “peak demand” periods.

    CON continues to gouge consumers who have chosen the non-wireless smart matter option $24.95/month as a penalty against those who want to protect their health, safety and privacy.

    Mr. Curran has been on the IMEA Executive Board for years, yet somehow the city needs more communication from that organization. Did not Mr. Curran understand the problems that it faced, or did he not inform Council properly? How could Mr Curran not recognize that the rate study was inaccurate, when many, not on the Board did and reported on the looming financial crisis? Why did Mr Curran, in Sept 2013 tell representative of the Homeowners Confederation that the e-portal would be functional at the end of 2013, when it has been just announced that the city is suing for the $800,000.00 paid to a vendor that hasn’t produced the product? When Kreiger was told about the growing negative cash flow in Nov 2012. He told Council and public that there was no cash problems?

    Will only the consumers pay the price for this incompetence, or will the managers supervising and directing the Utility be held responsible and dragged through the mud like the 2 heroic Moms who were warning of this mess?

    http://www.naperville.il.us/emplibrary/Boards_and_Commissions/cc20140224p-workshop.pdf

  3. http://cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/electricity-price-index-soars-new-record-start-2014-us-electricity

    As Council jumps off the cliff with the rest, promoting unaffordable “green” alternatives, and economic rationing, “incentives” to decrease power use American’s continue their slide to a third world, banana republic. Council should be promoting a massive build out of the infrastructure so that families and businesses can thrive and compete on a global market. Naperville needs jobs, not companies to leave, like Dominicks and Office Max. We need affordable electricity, when we need it…not when the city chooses to dole it out to us. It’s like going to Nordstroms to buy a black suit. What if Nordstroms decides to “sell” the customer the more expensive (and far more profitable), cheap orange suit instead. Most people in Naperville want to use their homes and run their businesses as they require, not as CON demands. More power, more business, more jobs, better care of our families

  4. Deja vu all over again!

    Elect officials that promise rainbows and unicorns and end up where we are today; in a hole that just keeps getting deeper.

    The city’s plan? Keep digging, get bigger more expensive shovels, add more diggers, blame the diggers that didn’t shovel fast enough. We are getting in so deep it’s hard to see the light of day.

    When will they learn, you can’t dig your way out of a hole?

  5. ARE THERE ANY LOCAL, STATE OR FEDERAL GOV’TS THAT ARE RUN PROPERLY? IF SO WHERE ARE THEY? THE DEGREE OF INCOMPETENCE AND OUTRIGHT THUGGERY SEEN IN THE FEDERAL GOV’T AND OTHERS IS DISGUSTING.

  6. I moved to Naperville in 1985 and one great thing at the time was that Naperville owned its own electric distribution system and could then shop around for the best price on power. Rates were low and service very dependable. Not sure when common sense left but its pretty much gone now and the residents in my subdivision do not really have a clue about not so smart meters. The radiation is constant (think tumors) in the mornings and the meters have been fire hazards in other communities. So without even thinking about the cost and no cost savings what is point? Follow the money and perhaps we all will know.

  7. Peabody Coal, who currently owns only 5% stake in the Prairie State plant, should be investigated, fined, and forced to buy back whatever shares that Naperville and other affected towns have been stuck with. This whole deal was strictly for the benefit of Peabody (who also owns the coal mine next to the plant) and certainly not for the electric bill-paying or air-breathing citizen.

    For those that haven’t read it, you might find this article enlightening:
    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-09-04/news/ct-met-costly-coal-plant-20130904_1_coal-plant-prairie-state-energy-campus-massive-coal-burning-power-plant

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