The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power will hike rates to cover some of its lost revenue, its board decided Tuesday. Why has it experienced the drop in revenue you ask? Because consumers have done what they’ve been instructed to do by their governmental masters: conserve water during this recent four-year drought. Many consumers are taking much shorter showers than in the past and have even replaced their yards with drought-tolerant landscaping, among other measures to limit water usage.
The result of this sacrifice, this community spirit, this massive conservation effort is that consumers will have to pay more money to make up for their conservation! Less water purchased from the utilities has meant less revenues for them as well, with many now operating in the red. Officials now claim that they need to pass some of the costs back to customers.
“The reality is that rate increases, surcharges and other pricing adjustments are part of the drought story this year,” Association of California Water Agencies spokeswoman Lisa Lien-Mager said. As revenues drop, utilities still must cover fixed costs, and keep paying employees, maintaining pipes, treatment facilities, aqueducts and reservoirs. They have also incurred additional costs during the drought, for ‘public outreach’ and ‘enforcing’ water-use restrictions. Get that? They’ve taken money that their customers have paid in and used it to badger them into using less water…and then raised these same customers rates because they did!! Where is the outrage??!
Neil Guglielmo, a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power budget official, said “Our customers have done a tremendous job of conserving water, which is great for the city, but it means there is an impact to our financials.”
Yes, well, in a free market, supply and demand would rule. Private companies must lower rates when demand falls. And, whenever private companies raise their rates, for whatever reason, government hounds them and lectures them about ‘greed’ and the ‘plight of the less fortunate.’ Private companies must react to falling demand by innovating, increasing efficiencies and/or laying off employees, all of which are anathema to government. Government will never shrink itself, or even go on a diet, though it expects any business not “too big to fail” to starve to death.
So, apparently, it is okay for the government to raise rates because of the falling demand that it caused, but it’s not okay for private companies to raise rates for legitimate reasons when their cost of doing business increases.
Incredible. Hypocrisy, thy name is government.