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NEWS
January 22, 2013
Citizens are being asked to vote for changes in the city charter so that it will be written to make sure the City Council can take revenues from Glendale Water & Power when needed, up to 25%. I highly recommend that everyone do their homework in understanding the financial condition of our utility. First off, it is in deep financial trouble and cannot pay for capital improvements needed right now. The water system needs improvements, Grayson Power Plant is old, and the city is having to divest its coal plant resources from two large plants out of state.
NEWS
July 21, 2012
Like dominoes tipping over, one after another, cities - first Vallejo, now San Bernardino, next Compton - are seeking relief from their fiscal incompetence and reckless irresponsibility by hiding behind bankruptcy laws that leave creditors and employees in the lurch, and the citizens to protect and serve themselves. You have to wonder how many others will follow suit as the state of California and the hundreds of government agencies under its jurisdiction keep on budgeting fictitious spending cuts, improbable tax and revenue increases and ineffective long-term public employee pension reforms as if the four-year recession soon will end and the good times are just around the corner.
NEWS
April 29, 2011
Glendale Water & Power has reached the halfway mark of installing high-tech smart meters — which officials say puts the utility on track to be the first in the nation to have a fully operational “smart grid” system. Full-scale installation of the 120,000 electric and water meters, which will allow two-way communication with the utility and let customers track real-time water and electric usage, began in December and is expected to be completed by summer. “We are 50% of the way to a smart-grid system foundation that will provide many benefits to our customers and our utility,” General Manager Glenn Steiger said in a statement.
NEWS
By Brittany Levine, brittany.levine@latimes.com | December 7, 2013
A popular digital picture frame used by a test group of Glendale Water & Power customers has significantly increased consumers' awareness of how much electricity and water they use, according to a survey released by the utility on Thursday.  The frame, which shows energy and water usage in near real-time, can also include a rotating selection of personal pictures and advertisements from the city. According to the survey, which gathered input from roughly 70 users before and after the frame was installed, found that: 39% of respondents said they “absolutely know” how much electricity is used in their home each day after using the frame, compared to 4% prior to installation 22% of respondents said they “absolutely know” how much running air conditioning increases their energy costs, compared to 7% prior to installation 20% of respondents said they “absolutely know” how much water is used in their home each day, compared to 5% prior to installation 83% of respondents experimented in some way, such as turning their lights or appliances on or off, to observe changes in utility costs displayed on the frame “It allows them to really manage their usage,” said Glendale Water & Power General Manager Steve Zurn, adding that the digital frame is a tangible way for customers to see the impacts of the utility's modernization efforts.
NEWS
December 21, 2012
The City Council will be asking for citizens to vote and approve changes in the ordinance to justify the transfers of up to 25% of revenue from the gross revenues of Glendale Water & Power. I worked for GWP for 20 years, under the management of five different GWP managers who all have said behind closed doors that the General Revenue Fund was taking too much money. They would not say this in public because it would jeopardize their jobs. The city charges all others doing business in our city a franchise fee of 3 and 4%. A 10% transfer from GWP should be the limit.
NEWS
November 27, 2012
What should the public expect, when council members have received thousands of dollars in campaign monies from our city unions? These public servants have to find money, somehow and somewhere, to pay back the unions for their past generous campaign contributions..” This month our council members approved another water revenue bond for $35 million. After 30 years this debt to the citizens of Glendale will be about $60 million. Our new city manager, Scott Ochoa, blamed the previous administration for the problems at Glendale Water and Power but failed to mention our current council members had to approve every GWP revenue bond, water and electric rate increase and the unnecessary funding of $70 million for “smart meter” technology in the present economic climate.
NEWS
August 20, 2013
Reading the News-Press article of Aug. 8 related to the city manager's suggestion that the Glendale Department of Water & Power be sold reminded me of a child who is losing the game and threatens to take his ball and go home. It certainly did not sound like a seasoned manager charged with the responsibility of running one of the most populous cities in California. Such a reckless option flies in the face of common sense, let alone 21st-century management techniques. Such a disastrous alternative kills the goose that lays the golden egg, as the city would no longer have the opportunity to raid the coffers of GWP annually of $20-plus millions.
NEWS
October 28, 2013
Glendale students learned about nuclear power, how water gets to their homes, and saw a fake hand burn as it touched a live electrical wire during Glendale Water & Power's annual open house last week. PHOTOS: Glendale Water & Power's Utility Day Students from various schools spent the morning at the Utility Operation Center, located at 800 Air Way, as utility workers showed off how they do their jobs. In the afternoon, the general public was also able to attend the event, which featured free food, demonstrations and tours of the Grayson Power Plant.
NEWS
August 23, 2013
Re: the letter “ Increases over five years not excessive ,” Mailbag, Aug. 14. If Ron Kaye's Sunday column is this writer's source , she is misinformed. If this lady's experience of electric rates in a nearby city is any indication, I can be sure that it wasn't Pasadena, Burbank or Los Angeles. All of them have publicly owned utilities and all of them have had rates lower than Glendale's in the past 13 years except for 2001, when Pasadena had a higher rate than Glendale's.
NEWS
By Scott Ochoa | July 13, 2012
Recently, there has been a great deal written about Glendale Water & Power in the press. Much of it has been controversial - smart meters, leadership changes, a budget deficit, proposed rate increases, poor public outreach, the revenue transfer to the city's general fund. In the absence of straightforward and concise answers, folks are tempted to believe the worst. As the city manager, I understand why folks may be concerned. Just as important, I know that my city council and community expect answers, success and stability - and they expect it now. Thus, over the last six months, I have come to the following conclusions: One, SmartGrid technology is a valuable tool for serving our customers in the future.
ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
By Brittany Levine, brittany.levine@latimes.com | April 3, 2014
From the booming downtown development scene to new retailers at the Americana at Brand and Glendale Galleria, there are plenty of positives to highlight in Glendale, but there are also looming problems that could take the wind out of the city's sails, Mayor Dave Weaver said at the annual State of the City luncheon Thursday. Weaver was referring to two separate lawsuits aiming to end the annual transfer of tens of millions of dollars from Glendale Water & Power to the city's General Fund that pays for police and other general services as well as a proposed ballot measure to repeal the utility users tax, which also supports the General Fund.
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NEWS
April 1, 2014
Re: the letter “ Utility transfer has history on its side ,” Mailbag, March 29. I have been a fan of Jim Starbird for many years. He was a great Glendale city manager and a very nice person to boot. The flaw that I see in his discussion of the fund transfer from Glendale Water & Power to the General Fund is not whether it is legal or has precedent, but with the accounting procedures used in arriving at the amount available to be transferred. What seems to have happened is money is transferred and then we are told the water and power distribution systems are falling apart and we need more money to fix them.
NEWS
April 1, 2014
What really needs to happen regarding the transfer of GWP funds is the City Council needs to make sure the charter is being complied with, and if it isn't to amend the charter so that it is. Secondly, the city manager and his staff along with the council need to realize and fully understand that our utility desperately needs to be maintained and the future cost of doing this is going to be extremely high due to aging infrastructure and new environmental mandates,...
NEWS
April 1, 2014
The city manager's March 22 op-ed, “Glendale's City Charter is clear ,” accuses me of having “bad facts.” I wish he respected the public enough to have been careful with his. Here are just some examples. I'm not the named plaintiff in any lawsuit against the city, as he claims; albeit I'm a member of a nonprofit organization that is. He writes I've argued GWP transfers to the General Fund violate Glendale's charter. The charter establishes no “general fund”; it establishes two different funds, both using the word “general.” The difference between the two isn't merely semantic; it's substantive.
NEWS
March 25, 2014
Some Glendale citizens defend water and electric rate increases arguing that they are needed to offset costs for water importing and infrastructure maintenance. These people are knowingly, or unknowingly, ignoring very important facts and by doing so are supporting special interests. For years, Glendale's City Council has been starving GWP while neglecting its infrastructure. Tens of millions of GWP funds are transferred annually to the General Fund where they are used to cover expenditures unrelated to the utility.
NEWS
By Brittany Levine, brittany.levine@latimes.com | March 7, 2014
As state lawmakers expect to release roughly $687 million of funding for shovel-ready projects to reduce the impacts of California's current drought, Glendale Water & Power officials are looking to grab some of that cash. There are four projects that could meet the requirements for the funding - including permits in place and planning mostly complete - officials said at a Glendale Water & Power Commission meeting this week. “If they say you get it in June, they don't want projects to wait,” said Kyra Emanuels Ross, a consultant hired to lobby for Glendale Water & Power in Sacramento.
NEWS
By Brittany Levine, brittany.levine@latimes.com | March 5, 2014
With the success of a new program that allows Glendale Water & Power customers to pay their bills at any 7-Eleven, store officials aim to reduce visits to in-house cashiers by 5% - a welcome shift as the cash-strapped department continues to pare back spending. But at least one Glendale Water & Power Commissioner expressed some reservations about the cost of the program during a utility commission meeting on Monday. The program, called “Pay Near Me,” is operated by a second party and doesn't cost Glendale Water & Power a cent, but it does cost customers $2.99 every time they make a payment through the remote system.
NEWS
By Brittany Levine, brittany.levine@latimes.com | February 28, 2014
Even Glendale Water & Power has issues with its bills from a utility company - and has to complain to get them fixed. After years of back-and-forth with the city of Los Angeles, members of the Glendale City Council announced this week after a closed-session meeting that they have settled a dispute with the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power regarding bill overcharges. Los Angeles officials have agreed to waive the overcharges as well as give Glendale Water & Power a 50% discount on some of its future billings, according to the announcement made during a City Hall meeting this week.
NEWS
By Mark Kellam, mark.kellam@latimes.com | February 13, 2014
Glendale Water & Power is expanding its program to help customers better monitor and control their electrical and water use with a new energy-saving tool - a thermostat that can be controlled from a smartphone. In the first phase of the project launched in 2011, 72 customers received digital picture frames that not only displayed personal photos, but also information about water and electrical use in the household and conservation tips. Now, 500 customers can sign up for an expanded pilot project that includes not only the picture frame, but also a smart thermometer that can be controlled remotely.
NEWS
By Brittany Levine, brittany.levine@latimes.com | December 7, 2013
A popular digital picture frame used by a test group of Glendale Water & Power customers has significantly increased consumers' awareness of how much electricity and water they use, according to a survey released by the utility on Thursday.  The frame, which shows energy and water usage in near real-time, can also include a rotating selection of personal pictures and advertisements from the city. According to the survey, which gathered input from roughly 70 users before and after the frame was installed, found that: 39% of respondents said they “absolutely know” how much electricity is used in their home each day after using the frame, compared to 4% prior to installation 22% of respondents said they “absolutely know” how much running air conditioning increases their energy costs, compared to 7% prior to installation 20% of respondents said they “absolutely know” how much water is used in their home each day, compared to 5% prior to installation 83% of respondents experimented in some way, such as turning their lights or appliances on or off, to observe changes in utility costs displayed on the frame “It allows them to really manage their usage,” said Glendale Water & Power General Manager Steve Zurn, adding that the digital frame is a tangible way for customers to see the impacts of the utility's modernization efforts.
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