Pasadena's Electrical Rates About Middle of the Pack Among Local Cities

Published : Tuesday, August 28, 2018 | 5:18 AM

At a City committee meeting today Pasadena Water and Power officials will tell Councilmembers that their utility is not the priciest in Los Angeles County, but it’s not the cheapest either.

Water and Power General Manager Gurcharan Bawa said in a memorandum that in comparison with other municipal utilities nearby, Pasadena’s electric rates are neither the lowest nor the highest regardless of whether you look at homeowners’ costs or business owners’ costs.

Bawa is set to discuss the report in full as an information item at a meeting of the City Council’s Municipal Services Committee Tuesday, August 28.

“This report identifies some key variables that impact electric rates and includes several examples which indicate that PWP’s electric rates are comparable with its neighboring utilities and are generally in the middle of the range,” Bawa said in the memorandum.

The other utilities included in the comparison are Anaheim, Burbank, Glendale, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Riverside, Southern California Edison, and Vernon.

In the comparison of monthly residential electric bills at various levels of consumption, PWP’s recorded average monthly consumption, at 350 kilowatt-hours, is at mid-cost.

PWP’s electric rates for small commercial customers ranged from the lower to middle of the comparison. At the 500 kWh level of usage, PWP’s bills are 9.7 percent below the average cost of the eight electric service providers used in the analysis. Examples of small commercial customers are a doctor’s office, a gas station, and a convenience store.

For medium commercial customers, for which a car dealership or a school would be typical, PWP’s rates were neither highest nor lowest – a chart included in the report showed the utility’s monthly charges were 8.8 percent and 7.8 percent below the average, for consumption levels of 10,000 kWh and 50,000 kWh, respectively.

In the comparison for large commercial customers among the eight electric service providers, using consumption levels of 100,000 kWh and 300,000 kWh, which is the typical usage for a supermarket or a large office building, PWP’s costs are 3.4 percent and 6.5 percent below the average at the two levels of consumption.

The City of Vernon recorded the lowest price in residential consumption but had the highest small and medium commercial consumption costs since the majority of its customers are commercial.

Burbank recorded either the highest or second-highest costs in the large commercial bill comparison, according to the PWP report.

PWP said it recently completed an interim review of its cost of service model and basic electric rate structure, assisted by a professional consulting firm, and will present a more detailed discussion of existing and proposed rates to the Municipal Services Committee and the City Council in fiscal year 2019.

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