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Reflecting community input, Riverside Public Utilities proposes lower rates

By in Press Enterprise on November 27, 2017

By Girish Balachandran

Most of us would find it difficult to imagine a day, a week, or a month without electricity or water. Losing these public services sometimes can be inconvenient, and at other times deadly. For example, in September a power failure due to Hurricane Irma caused the death of twelve senior citizens in Florida.

Water and electricity flow through every aspect of our lives. In Riverside, they also flow through 2,400 miles of pipes, lines, and cables, nearly a third of which are over 60 years old and beyond their useful life. Replacing infrastructure before it fails saves lives and also money, it being far less expensive to replace infrastructure than to fix it in an emergency. Riverside has benefitted from past decisions that ensured affordable and reliable electric and water services. We now face such a decision ourselves.

Since adopting our last utility rate increases in 2006, Riverside has invested more than $300 million to improve electric and water service reliability. We built four natural gas-fired turbines to avoid blackouts, rebuilt the 16-million-gallon Evans Reservoir to seismic standards, and built the John W. North Treatment Plant to declare Riverside’s independence from expensive imported water. Our current rates – lower than those in surrounding communities – reflect these investments.

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