Take a look at the city’s PG&E bills

2 Oct
This is just part of the city's monthly PG&E bill - the grand total for the month of

This is one of two checks made out monthly to PG&E by the city of Chico.

Check #2 - for one month of PG&E the city of Chico lays out about $160,000.

Check #2 – for one month of PG&E the city of Chico lays out about $160,000.

I don’t know how many times I’ve sat in meetings Downtown, shivering cold. No matter what time of year, the air conditioning in that building seems to be running full-tilt boogie.  I can’t stand refrigeration, I get over cold, then over hot, it’s hard to sit still and concentrate. When I paid a visit to the city building recently, I noticed everybody in there was dressed as if for Winter, wearing sweaters over long-sleeve shirts. I realize, they want to look business-like, but I think they can do that in less clothes. Having to pay this kind of money to air condition the management types who insist on three piece suits in July is an onerous burden for the taxpayer. Get a pair of Bermuda shorts Chris and Mark! 

When I read the rate increase proposal from PG&E I couldn’t help but wonder what that would mean to the city of Chico. I finally decided to take my own personal time and go down to the city to view the utility bills. I knew it would be high – there’s not just lights and ac for the big building Downtown, the city owns properties and little office buildings all over town. They also pay for street lights and electricity for irrigating all those community green ways and the stupid  medians and sidewalk greenery along public streets. So, it really adds up.  The grand total for the period from August 14 to September 14 is over $160,000. 

Now, the irrigation and some of the lights are paid for by “assessment districts” – homeowners are assessed for this maintenance in their property tax bills.  

This list shows the funds from which the money is taken to pay the amounts in the bills. I think some of these accounts are homeowner assessment districts.

This list shows the funds from which the money is taken to pay the amounts in the bills. I think some of these accounts are homeowner assessment districts.  This is just one page I found, there were others.

It’s not a very big portion of this bill though. Most of this bill is for electricity used in city owned buildings.

Yes, I think the city wastes a lot of electricity. I think they have way too many lights and computer stations running for no good purpose. Also, since they laid off so many employees, they have a big empty building Downtown that is still sucking a lot of juice. One suggestion I’d make is close the third floor and shut off the power up there. 

When Ann Schwab  formed the Sustainability Task Force, she said the first priority would be too look over city properties and see where the belt could be tightened. Frankly, I don’t even think she found a belt. I think Mark Stemen needs to get his priorities in order. Stop messing around in our private business, and turn that butt-candle to the city of Chico. Don’t even talk to me about roof tiles until you’ve reduced the city’s electricity usage Mark – I want a 20 percent decrease before this latest PG&E rate hike kicks in. 

One month's electricity to run the sewer plant.

One month’s electricity to run the sewer plant.  This is only a fraction of the sewer budget – most is made up of salaries, benefits and pensions – check the city budget.

I can't find any explanation on this bill, see any address here?   Over $2200 for what? And over $2300 last month. I smell air conditioning.

$2200 a month for lights and air conditioning at the animal shelter. Again, this pales in comparison to the salaries and benefits in that budget. 

Almost $100 a month to light a sign at DeGarmo Park.

Almost $100 a month to light a sign at DeGarmo Park.

This is what it costs to run a traffic signal for a month.

This is what it costs to run a traffic signal for a month.

I took pictures of page after page, not all of them – one bill was 158 pages long – but whatever caught my interest. 

$254/month to keep lights on at the Stansbury Home?

$254/month to keep lights on at the Stansbury Home?  That’s more than twice the bill my family had in our 1800 sf home, and we lived there 24 hours a day.

This is still part of that $122,000 bill - look at the details - over $300 for "gas procurement"?  What the hell?

This is still part of that $122,000 bill – look at the details – over $300 for “gas procurement”? What the hell?

 

One other conclusion I’ll draw from looking at these bills – the  rate increase is going to hurt the city. They’re going to use it to try and stick us for some sort of tax. 

Well, off to work. 

 

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7 Responses to “Take a look at the city’s PG&E bills”

  1. alpetersen2014 October 2, 2014 at 7:35 am #

    Great questions Juanita. Those pge bills accumulate to huge amounts. Does the city have solar yet? Al Petersen

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    • Juanita Sumner October 3, 2014 at 4:43 am #

      I think only at the sewer plant, unless they’re hiding it somewhere else. I sure don’t see panels on the building Downtown, it’s just a giant shoat, sucking power probably 24-7.

      I’m guessing most public buildings run heat/air 24 hours a day – that’s what I’ve seen at Chico library. What about the building you work in Al? Is it efficient, or could they use an energy audit down at the county?

  2. Roy October 2, 2014 at 11:35 am #

    In your opinion, would solar panels help mitigate PGE costs, or would the initial capital expenditures and maintenance negate future savings? CUSD has gone the solar route, and I haven’t really heard the psitives/negatives.

    • Ted funchies October 2, 2014 at 10:10 pm #

      On a sunny day the solar and the Co-Gen produce 16 mega watts per day at .18 cents a kWh that about $2880 dollars a day and a about a million dollars per year. But with cloudy days and outages on the Co-gen probably about 800000 in renewable energy.

    • Juanita Sumner October 3, 2014 at 4:51 am #

      I know it wasn’t a viable option for my family when we checked into it, but I’ve heard it’s gotten a lot cheaper.

      I don’t know enough about solar to be a fanatic, though. When my kid and I checked into alternative energy, it looked like the Bloom Box type of generator was really what was happening, but I haven’t heard anything about those for a few years.

      I do know, there’s huge waste on the public level in Chico, simply because they don’t turn down the thermostat or shut off lights or computers at night. I wish the Sustainability Task Force would do some sort of yearly audit, but knowing the way they do things Downtown, I’d guess that would probably be cost prohibitive.

  3. Ted funchies October 2, 2014 at 6:38 pm #

    http://www.chico.ca.us/general_services_department/operations_and_maintenance/water_pollution_control_plant.asp. The wastewater plant owns and operates a 1.1Mw/d solar panel farm, and a 8Mw/d Co-generator plant running on the methane gas. Imagine that bill without those hard working over paid and over compensated employees keeping those plants operating at full output.

    • Juanita Sumner October 3, 2014 at 4:38 am #

      The sewer plant is one of the biggest pigs on the city budget. That’s why the city is sending out all those notices right now, trying to get more people connected to sewer, for the revenues, nothing else. On a quarter acre or larger lot, septic tanks are a perfectly viable option, and thousands of dollars cheaper to maintain.

      Why don’t the septic workers out at the dump get paid as much as the workers at the sewer plant Ted?

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