It doesn’t seem that long ago, when the McCoy’s and Hatfield’s (city officials and Smart Meter opponents) were going at it with each other, over the benefits and atrocities of Smart Meters. Ultimately it came down to the ‘Golden Rule’; he who has the gold makes the rules, when the city crushed all but one resident (Kim Bendis) for resisting the forced installation of Smart Meters on their homes and businesses.
I succumbed to the pressure of resisting the installation when two Naperville police officers (guns ready if needed) escorted two meter installers to my home and slapped a meter on the exterior. I folded like a picnic chair and accepted my brand new shinny meter while chatting with both officers who were less than happy about having this assignment.
The good news was that if what city officials said about saving money on my electric bill was true, I might be able to save a buck or two. I knew the chances of that were one in a million, but it was still a chance.
As it turned out, I haven’t saved a penny with my now-less-than-shinny smart meter; in fact city officials increased the rate for electric, and get ready because it’s going to happen again.
At least it won’t come as a surprise. Smart meter opponents (Naperville Smart Meter Awareness Group) knew it would happen, and Mayor Steve Chirico confirmed it during the last city council meeting.
It’s never pleasant hearing that electric rates are increasing, or a city sales tax is imminent, but residents would rather hear it straight, than to be played for fools.
The problem with all politicians is they accept without question the only way to fix financial problems is to raise rates. taxes or kick the can down the road with bond issues. This myopic and ultimately destructive behavior creates whole new sets of problems and ultimately brings a day of reckoning.
There is and always was an alternative. If you wish to keep Naperville a thriving, dynamic and financially livable city you politicians best figure out what is critically important to the city and it function and what is superfluous waste, fat and excess.
People and businesses are fleeing the state and will our city if the trend is not immediately reversed meaning cut taxes not increase them. As to the electric rates we know the ultimate goal is to charge for time of use (just like they did with the 20 biggest city users). This translated means you will be paying twice as much then you are now for the same electrical usage. Somebody has to pay off the smart meter fiasco the 11 million bond issue, 3 million overrun, legal suits, mesh grid, significant increased labor, maintenance and overhead cost for this system.
The solution isn’t increasing revenue but significantly cutting nonessential costs and or divesting the city of nonessential assets while combining redundant services with sister cities or the county since they all cover for each other anyway. Imagine the saving on police, fire and ambulance alone.
The rate increase being discussed is not due to any of the items you listed (smart meters, bond issues, overruns, suits, grid, labor or maintenance costs). In fact the a large part of the smart meter install was paid for with a federal grant.
The reasons rates are going up is very simple. The power plants generating the electricity are charging the city more for power. When Naperville joined the IMEA a rate study was done that said a rate increase would not be needed. This study turned out to be terribly wrong. As a result the city was paying more for power then it was charging users. A new rate study was done and rates were increased by the last council but only enough to cover current cost. Since last year power rate have again increased. If the city does not raise rates it will be spending more for power then resident are being charged for it.
As to the goal of charging for time power is used, this will actually save most resident money. The peak usage time (thus the peak charge) is during the day when most of us are at work and the children are in school. By turning off (or down) the power to appliance during this time the average resident can save money. And by scheduling to do laundry, dishes, vacuuming in the evening or while sleeping, resident can save more money. Of course this only applies to residents that have smart meters. When the support software is fully functional residents will be able to review their power usage through out the day and make adjustment to power use that will maximize saving.