The residents and businesses of Naperville have been on the receiving end of a ‘crime’. It actually started in the inky shadows of city hall’s corridors, and it culminated with the recent announcement that the Naperville Public Utility of Electric is $25 million in the red, and city officials want residents and businesses to cover the loss, and that’s the crime.
So how did Naperville go from $5 million in the black as recently as last year, to $25 million in the hole one year later. How could this happen? City officials kept reassuring residents to trust when they said electric rates would not increase over a 5-year period by more than the rate of 0%, 0%, 2%, 2%, and 2%. City manager Doug Krieger said it, the mayor said it, the city council said it, Mark Curran, the Public Utility Director of Electric said it, the talking heads (Smart Grid Ambassadors) said it. Something went terribly wrong, and residents along with Naperville business could be paying astronomical electric rates for the next 21 years, until the year 2035. That’s even longer than term limits for council members, and they haven’t even gone into effect yet.
So who is responsible for letting this ‘crime’ happen? The list of possible culprits is lengthy, but if this was a corporation, who would be issued their walking papers?
The Naperville Public Utility of Electric is Naperville’s Titanic “even God can’t sink this ship”. Who is Naperville’s Captain Edward Smith, Officer-in-Charge of-the-Bridge William Murdoch, and Crow’s Nest Lookout (Reginald Lee)?
They would be City Manager Doug Krieger (Ming the Merciless from Flash Gordon), city councilman Grant Wehrli, and Naperville’s Director of Public Utility Electric, Mark Curran.
All three have been crucial moving parts of this fiasco since 2007 when Naperville entered a horrible contract with IMEA (Illinois Municipal Electric Agency) which runs through the year 2035. Krieger was the finance director, Wehrli was one of three current council members who approved the contract (along with Pradel and Krause), and Curran has been with the city since 1991, and in his current position as Public Utility Director of Electric since 2010. Curren should have seen the iceberg and warned the Captain (Krieger) of impending doom (20 + years of high electric rates). Wehrli as the council’s point person with the Smart Grid needed to asking the right people the right questions and he didn’t. Krieger did not and has not exhibited the leadership necessary to steer the ship to safety. Time and again he has failed the residents and businesses of Naperville. Residents, through the Naperville Smart Meter Awareness group tried to warn them, but they would not listen. City officials simply had them arrested and thrown into the court system.
Those most responsible for the sorry state of electric rates in Naperville (Krieger, Wehrli, and Curran) most likely will be gone in short time. Wehrli is leaving the scene of the crime and running off to the state legislature, while Krieger and Curran will be working their ‘magic’ elsewhere. What will remain will be the residents, the businesses, the sky-rocketing electric rates, and a horrible contract through 2035.