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A Balcony View: Poor planning makes customers pay more

November 16, 2010|By Gary Huerta

I don't know how many of you got to read the open letter that was published about a couple of weeks ago in the Glendale News-Press from Glenn Steiger, Glendale Water & Power's general manager.

It was the softer, gentler way to let us all know that the utility would be ramming a rate hike down our throats. I guess it is true that when you are choking, water — especially more expensive water — helps.

I'm not naive. I know that Glendale Water & Power, like most everything else in our state, is operating on fiscal fumes. My gripe has been and continues to be the way the utility company bungles its business; telling customers they could save money by practicing water conservation and then pulling the rug out from under their feet by intimating those conservation efforts were so effective it lost money and thus, was forced to raise rates. Poor planning and foresight from the top down, as I see it.

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It seems very strange that Glendale Water & Power did not have the business sense to forecast the economic impact of such conservation efforts. I am in senior management at a very successful company on the cusp of entering the Fortune 100. Trust me when I tell you that good companies are always forecasting profit and loss when it involves the consumption/usage patterns of its customers.

Either Glendale Water & Power didn't plan well, or they knew and went ahead with a deceptive marketing campaign despite having the facts. Either way, it doesn't bode well.

From the overbilling of its customers to its lame marketing efforts, I've tried to shed a light on Glendale Water & Power's "less-than-stellar" operations. Most recently, I was curious whether or not my own security deposit would be returned without having to move heaven and earth. I am pleased to say that the money was promptly credited. It was treated as a credit on our current bill instead of a refund.

Curiously, it was the highest bill we have ever received, so instead of getting even a token amount returned, we still ended up owing Glendale Water & Power about $10. They owe us money and suddenly our bill is so high we never see a penny returned. Amazing!

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