June 18, 2021

Riverside moves ahead with delayed electric rate increase – Press Enterprise

Riverside moves ahead with delayed electric rate increase – Press Enterprise

Riverside residents and businesses will be paying more for their electricity starting July 1.

The Riverside City Council approved a 3% rate hike Tuesday, June 15, by a 5-1 vote. Councilmember Chuck Conder voted against the hike and Councilmember Gaby Pacencia was absent.

“Although it sounds hard, it really isn’t,” said Ward 2 Councilmember Andy Melendrez. “That’s a good value to make sure we can deliver that power to families in need.”

Sign up for The Localist, our daily email newsletter with handpicked stories relevant to where you live. Subscribe here.

The hike is the third rate hike in a multi-year plan approved in 2018, intended to close a growing budget gap for the city’s electrical fund. The increase was originally intended to go into effect on Jan. 1, but it was delayed first to March and then July over concerns about a growing number of delinquencies since the pandemic began. The delays have cost the city an estimated $4.4 million in the 2021-22 budget, according to city staff.

“I think we’ve waited long enough and need to move forward” on a rate increase, Ward 3 Councilmember Ronaldo Fierro said.

According to city officials, the 3% rate hike will cost the average residential customer an additional $3.22 a month, based on the average residential monthly electric bill ranging between $96 and $100. Riverside Public Utilities customers pay less than half of what San Diego Gas & Electric customers pay for the same amount of electricity and about two-thirds of what Southern California Edison customers pay, according to the city.

“There is no financial reason — none — why this council should not skip the third year of this energy rate plan,” Ward 1 resident Jason Hunter told the council. “If there was ever a year to skip an increase, it’s this one.”

According to a report prepared for the council, the number of utility customers behind on their payments has more than doubled since the coronavirus pandemic began.

The Riverside Public Department has more than 111,000 electrical customers. According to the city, as of April 27, 6,911 of them are more than 180 days delinquent, including 6,505 residential customers. The average residential customer with an electrical bill overdue between 180 and 359 days owes $1,458 and the average residential customer delinquent more than 360 days owes $2,503. For commercial customers, the averages are more than double that.

Click Here To Read Original Story

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *