Some Hercules Residents May See 40% Electric Rate Hike; Garbage Rates May Also Increase

The Hercules City Council will discuss the issues soon.

A 10-year run of cheap electricity may soon come to an end for some Hercules residents.

The city's Promenade subdivision was built 10 years ago with a subsidized deal that kept electric rates 10 percent cheaper than PG&E, according to a report from Hercules City Manager Steve Duran.

That agreement ends at the end of this month.

"Since Hercules Municipal Utility (HMU) residential rates are approximately 30 percent higher than PG&E rates, HMU rates for Promenade residential customer rates will be going up approximately 40 percent," the report states.

The Hercules City Council is scheduled to discuss the item at its Jan. 8 meeting, and city staff will ask the council to consider implementing the increase in phases.

But Promenade residents aren't the only ones facing a utility rate hike.

Richmond Sanitary Service (RSS) recently applied to raise solid waste rates in Hercules by 11 percent, according to the report.

"The initial review was completed last week and staff will be meeting with RSS to discuss the findings," the report from Duran says. "Once any issues have been resolved, staff will be bringing forward a recommendation to City Council for consideration."

The city council would be required to hold a public hearing on the matter before raising rates.


What do you think of electric and waste rates in Hercules? Tell us in the comments section below.

Susan D.Keeffe December 20, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Just to be clear, despite the comment re paying our "fair share", readers should know those who live in Promenade already pay more than 19% above PGE and some residents already have bills as high as $300-$500. A 40% increase will push those folks to bills going into the $600's and above. There are only about 800 properties in the HMU to begin with and none of those were given the choice of being in it or not and are stuck with this loser. Sala couldn't pay it's electric bill and so Hercules lost a jewel of a restaurant. This lends some perspective to Romero's insensitive "fair share" comment. This rate increase will be devastating to some Herculeans who may find themselves unable to pay their electric bills as well, the discount defrayed the expense and served to equalize prices with the expectation the Waterfront would be developed and there would be a larger number of consumers . As we know, Oliva squandered those bond funds on deals designed to enrich himself and the Waterfront project languished. And now they will face bills no one else in Hercules has to face. Is any of this fair?
Phil Simmons December 20, 2012 at 04:26 PM
The city needs to do everything possible to sell HMU as fast as possible. Not only will Promenade residents get a 40% price increase but all of HMU residents are paying 30% more than the PG&E customers in town. This is unfair to all of the HMU residential customers. It has not been made clear whether customers like the Pinole Wastewater plant or Bio-Rad have the same high rates as residential customers. The answer the city gave about the price increase was: 1. The 10 year contract for a discount is over. 2. The city wants to raise rates so that it can try to sell the utility for more money. The project to sell HMU is now two years old. It is time to get it sold. Waiting to make more money on the backs of rate payers is unfair.
willie December 20, 2012 at 04:39 PM
once again, why isn't Olivia in JAIL ???
Susan D.Keeffe December 20, 2012 at 07:11 PM
Willie, Good question. Its pretty clear, at least to me, that the decisions he made continue to have devastating effects on our City. And now approximately 800 HMU customers will be burdened with bills no one else in Hercules, possibly in the state, have. Its no wonder so many in the Promenade area have gone solar!!! That was and is their only defense.
Selina Williams December 20, 2012 at 07:13 PM
I went solar even though I am an energy miser. Turns out it will be saving me more than I expected so it was totally worth while. I am currently paying 0 for electricity. Additionally, I convinced my appraiser that there was real value in this installation, enabling me to get a better re-fi. Even though the HMU Solar incentive is over, I recommend those with high bills (over $300! wow!) consider going solar.
Phil Simmons December 20, 2012 at 09:33 PM
Selina, Actually your bill would not have gone up. The increase only affects those that live in the Promenade Community. Your bill was already 30% higher than the PG&E customers. Good for you for getting solar. Had I known of the 40% price increase in my community just a few short months ago I would have also gotten solar. It would have been cost justifiable. Now that the price will increase it is still not price justifiable due to the fact that HMU no longer offers the rebate credits that they once did. Double jeprody.
Susan D.Keeffe December 20, 2012 at 10:11 PM
It's still worth doing via a lease for those who get into Tier 3 and above, even without the rebate. I also went solar and have had a big savings even adding in the lease. But Phil is right- they need to sell HMU! Why did the City hire long term consultants with no incentive to sell because once they do they are out of a job!


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