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GWP’s Role in Rate Increases

The Glendale News-Press article of Sept. 30 stirred a reaction with its headline “City OKs Steep Hike in Electric Rates.” Advocates including the Glendale Environmental Coalition and the community near the Scholl Canyon landfill did not cause the delays or the proposed rate hikes. Instead, cost increases are the result of GWP pursuing expensive power plant projects, high inflation-driven production costs, and increased interest rates.
In 2018, GWP proposed rebuilding the Grayson power plant and creating a biogas plant using methane released by the Scholl Canyon Landfill.
GWP’s plans to build these gas power plants encountered objections, delays and now rising costs. One Councilmember blamed the higher costs on delays caused by their colleagues who wanted to ensure Glendale was making sound environmental and fiscal decisions. Not so. Much more delay was caused by GWP.
For Grayson, GWP took more than two years, until March 2022, to ask City Council to approve their plan. City Council held off for less than 10 months before approving a scaled-back gas plant project.
For the Scholl Biogas plant, it took more than two years for GWP to produce an environmental impact report demanded by the city’s Planning Commission. This delay was not caused by City Council or by the community.
With this backdrop, it’s disingenuous to blame the community or City Council.
It’s not easy to transition to renewable energy. But GWP must adapt. Instead of insisting on an oversized gas plant, they could have chosen to embrace the need for local, clean energy investments, and our utility would be in a much better financial position today.
By 2045, we are required by California to be at 100% clean energy. Every day, it gets more expensive.
The Washington Post recently reported that in 2022 alone the cost of climate and weather disasters was $176 billion. Glendale is not immune from safe from these disasters. We must consider these increased risks as we plan our energy future.
It’s 2023. Time to stop blaming and work together to build a new kind of PUBLIC utility and help those who can’t afford rate hikes.

Jack Walworth

First published in the October 14 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.

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