Edison fee hikes could affect cities, too

Star-News report Nathan McIntire’s story about a Southern California Edison proposal to increase rates is getting picked up everywhere.

ROSEMEAD – Southern California Edison estimates rates for some residential customers could increase by an average of 30 percent or more next year because of soaring fuel prices and costs to upgrade infrastructure, according to a company executive.

Edison filed an application with the California Public Utilities Commission last fall to ask permission to raise electricity rates in 2009. The utility’s initial rate forecast included an average increase of 17.5 percent for residential customers, according to a report issued by Edison in March.

Now, Edison expects that number could double. Average residential rates could increase “in excess of 30 percent” when rising fuel prices are taken into account, said Akbar Jazayeri, vice president of regulatory operations for Edison.

About 40 percent of Edison’s residential customers would not be affected by the rate increases, according to an Edison spokesman. That number includes nearly 1 million Edison customers enrolled in the company’s low-income rate discount program.

Edison’s rates are broken into a five-tiered system based on the amount of energy a customer uses. Only customers within the three highest tiers – the heaviest users – would be affected by the proposed rate hikes, Jazayeri said.

The utility will submit the final component of its application to raise rates next month. Any rate increases must be approved in December by the Public Utilities Commission, which sets the three-year rates and can deny all or parts of Edison’s request.

Another interesting point in the story is Edison’s proposal could really affect municipalities too, as Arcadia City Manager Don Penman points out: “Obviously its ominous, both for the consumer and for public agencies that depend on a lot of electricity.”

I guess gas isn’t the only thing we should be worried about these days…

 

Open Forum: What’s going on in your city?

El Monte Councilman Art Barrios called this week, asking why I wasn’t at the pancake breakfast last Friday. Um, because I had the day off and would much prefer to spend my free time at the beach.

But he didn’t care about me: He wanted to know why the Tribune only writes negative stories about El Monte. It’s a common complaint we get. Barrios was right, we didn’t cover it. But we also didn’t cover the dozens of other Fourth of July events in the 31 cities in the San Gabriel Valley. There’s just not enough space.

But in honor of Barrios, how about we spend some positive attention to what is going on in your cities this weekend.

OPEN FORUM: What will you be doing in the SGV this weekend? 

Open forum

It’s been a tough few months for many of our cities in the San Gabriel Valley. And judging from the comments on the blog, many are upset at what their cities are doing — and consequentially what this blog and newspaper reports on.

Most cities are dealing with budget cuts, some are dealing with embarassment by their elected representatives and several have or are facing lawsuits that have rocked city morale. But we may as well take one day to try to muster up some positive feedback about our cities and elected officials.

So, here’s an open forum: What have your elected officials done to improve your city?

Weekend wrap-up

Weekend links:

Montebello is prepared to pay an extra $227,000 for a third administrator. Here’s the story.

Glendora is facing a balanced budget. Read here.

Plans to develop 45 acres off the 60 freeway in Monterey Park could mean a previous deal with the old developer fell through. Here’s the story.

Baldwin Park, El Monte top the jobless rate in the SGV, although all of Los Angeles County saw the rate increase by one percent last month. Read here.

Duarte seeks to block Vulcan Materials from expanding in Azusa, near the border of Duarte. Read more.

A group of nearly 200 residents are upset at a development plan in Rowland Heights that would displace a Christian school. Read more.

A consultant deal out of La Puente is raising eyebrows, and at least one councilwoman is calling for the District Attorney’s office to get involved. Read more.

Some residents are fighting a plan to bring a discovery center that they say is too big and that it will wipe out part of the natural habitat in the Whittier Narrows. Read more.

I won’t support your project if you won’t support mine

Local politicians had some harsh words for MTA officials today at a meeting unveiling a plan for toll roads along San Gabriel Valley freeways.

Reporter Dan Abendschein attended the meeting, which he said focused more on MTA’s lack of funding for local projects rather than the proposal for HOV lanes on the 10 and 210 freeways.

Here are some snippets of information from Abendschein:

“Before I would even consider this plan, I would have to be assured that we see serious funding for the Gold Line,” said Assemblyman Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina.

If the plan is approved, MTA would receive $214 million in federal money, which it could use to spend on additional bus and van service to use the lanes.

Richard Katz, an MTA board member appointed by L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, told the Los Angeles Times last week that MTA should not approve the Gold Line unless the toll lane project is approved.

“It wouldn’t make sense for us to fund the Gold Line at the same time that [some members of Congress] are trying to take money away from congestion pricing,” said Katz. “That doesn’t make sense to me. If you’re going to oppose this chance to get $213 million, why should we support 80 million over there?”

Sounds like the transportation debate could get heated…

What color was Jesus?

The skin color on a mural of Jesus Christ sparked the ire among some Biola University students and community members, Sandra Molina reports.

LA MIRADA – In the 18 years since a prominent Los Angeles muralist painted it, the 40-foot depiction of Jesus Christ on a Biola University building has sparked controversy.

Students of color say they are offended by Jesus being portrayed as white.

But what makes this story even more interesting are the heated and sometimes racist comments that follow it. For example:

Who the hell cares what the blacks, muslims and illegals don’t like! Now that the blacks and muslims have a half black muslim running for prez, they are all bent out of shape about Jesus? Go f yourselves!

And:

Let’s not waste our time and energy on the shade of Jesus’ skin color. My guess is you can’t spend several days walking in the HOT desert and still be white as snow. What’s the difference if His skin color was light, dark or black? He is who He is… Where were these protesters when they took Jesus out of our schools, flag salute, etc?

Our time would be better spent lobby against SAME sex marriage, or killing babies through abortion.