One would think that being linked to a really bad decision, would cause someone to want to distance himself as far away as possible from the spotlight of that decision, but not so in the case of Naperville Director of Public Utilities – Electric Mark Curran. On November 4 Curran received the Illinois Municipal Electric Agency (IMEA) Board Member of the year award.
In what may have been the second worst, if not worst decision, ever made by Naperville city officials, the City of Naperville contracted with IMEA in 2007 to purchase electricity as its source of electric for residents and businesses, not for one year, or 10 years, or 20 years, but for 28 years until the year 2035. The Cubs may have another 19 World Series championships by the time the long-term, outrageously iron-clad contract, with absolutely no performance provisions included, comes to an end. The horrible Iran nuclear deal on the national level is what the IMEA-Naperville deal is on the local level. Bad business. Naperville city officials should be ashamed of themselves for being so naive.
But there is Curran, the poster boy, accepting his award for his commitment to Naperville’s more than 59,000 electric accounts; a 28-year commitment for outrageous electric rates. Curran should be thanking the Naperville city council, and legal department for approving the contract. Let’s not leave out Naperville city manager Doug Krieger for over-seeing the entire debacle.
IMEA has 24 board members, with one board member (Curran) representing Naperville, though Naperville represents almost 40% of the agency’s buying power. There are 32 public electric systems as part of the purchasing consortium, with Naperville being the largest investor by far with that 40%. Naperville city officials blew it big time and the residents and businesses of Naperville are left with high electric rates that are going higher and higher.
This was followed by another hideous decision by the Naperville city council to forcefully install Smart Meters on the homes of residents and businesses with the promise that it would save users money. As of today, not one dime has been saved by anyone in Naperville. Current city council members Judith Brodhead and Paul Hinterlong were part of the council that approved the heavy-handed installation of those meters, with the blessing of Smart Meter ambassador John Krummen, whom is also on the city council now. Both Brodhead and Krummen are up for re-election next April.
In case you’re wondering what was the worst decision ever made Naperville city officials, that happened around 1970, when Naperville decided to say ‘no’ to what is now Westfield Mall in Aurora. Developers of the mall wanted the City of Naperville to approve the mall to be built on the southeast corner of Rt. 59 and Aurora Avenue. City officials voted ‘no’ because of the increased traffic. So the mall was built across the street in Aurora, resulting in the same amount of traffic, and the City of Aurora benefiting from 41 years worth of sales taxes. At least the 28 year bad deal will come to an end, but the continued loss of sales tax will go on and on.
Naperville city officials can’t seem to get it right. They vote ‘no’ when they should vote ‘yes’, and they vote ‘yes’ when they should vote ‘no’. And who remains to pick up the pieces? The good folks of Naperville, that’s who.