Pacific Swell

Southern California environment news and trends

Broken water rate plan causes loss of revenues for Glendale

Glendale's city council has decided to pay a new consultant to try to fix ongoing problems with its water rate structure.
Glendale's city council has decided to pay a new consultant to try to fix ongoing problems with its water rate structure. Flickr/ T.Hoffarth

The city of Glendale will have to spend even more money than expected to fix recently-discovered problems in the way its public utility calculates water rates.

The last time Glendale updated its water rates, 2 years ago, the overall goal was to increase revenue and reward conservation. But in December, Glendale city officials discovered that the water rate structure, prepared by a Temecula-based consulting firm, was broken.

Related content: Does my community have water restrictions?

The utility overcharged some commercial customers and undercharged residential water users. The revenue that Glendale expected new rates to bring in simply wasn’t there. By some estimates, Glendale lost as much as $8 million, even though the city used more water.

Glendale's city council decided to pay a new consultant to fix the problems. Now that firm has discovered more miscalculations. This week, the city council admitted it would have to scrap the original rate structure and start over.  That means paying the new consultants even more.

All of the rate problems are lending fuel to critics, who have argued that in general, money is not being spent wisely at the utility,  and revenues collected should not be transferred to the city of Glendale’s general fund.

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