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DPW: Norwalk has been overcharged by Third Taxing District

Norwalk Traffic Authority 111714 929
Norwalk Department of Public Works Operations Manager Lisa Burns.

NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk’s years of complaints to the Third Taxing District have finally gotten results – there’s been an acknowledgement that the TTD has been overcharging the sewage treatment plant for electricity, Department of Public Works Operations Manager Lisa Burns said at Monday’s Water Pollution Control Authority meeting.

The plant’s rate dropped 5 percent on Oct. 1, Supervising Environmental Engineer Ralph Kolb said. But that’s just the beginning – the rate drop is being phased in over four years and will eventually be around 10 percent, he said.

“They did say they need to phase it in over time so it doesn’t have a huge shock on their rate payers,” Burns said.

“They hadn’t done a cost of services study since like the mid-1980s and we had been trying to negotiate a fair electric rate for five years or more,” Burns said. “They got a new general manager the past couple of years and we requested, again, that they do a cost of service study because we kind of reverse engineered that the WPCA had been paying more than its fair share of the Third Taxing District rate.”

She was referring to James Smith, who became the new general manager in July 2012.

The Third Taxing District is not regulated by the state Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC), she said.

“They’re a political entity of the city of Norwalk so to force their hand to do something else was going to have to go some political route, through the commissioners, through the Council,” Burns said. “It just seemed more reasonable just to say ‘OK, we’ve gotten somewhere now on it and we’re getting closer to what the correct rate is.’”

Comments

5 responses to “DPW: Norwalk has been overcharged by Third Taxing District”

  1. John Hamlin

    Force their hand. Period.

  2. diane c2

    Gosh, when was the last time TTD did a “cost of service” analysis on my private residence? Perhaps I, too, am entitled to a rate reduction?
    I would like to read a more in-depth story on this, especially that WPCA “reverse engineered” to a conclusion that supported their position, but more importantly, under what conditions can any TTD customer negotiate a “fair rate” with them?

  3. EastNorwalkChick

    Diane, I too would like to negotiate a “fair rate”, what makes them so special that they can pay less than the average rate payer in the TTD? The rate is what it is, pay it like the rest of us.

  4. Oldtimer

    Electric rates from CL&P vary, depending on how much is used and how much of that is during peak demand times. Third district buys from CL&P at a special rate that guarantees the demand will not exceed a certain amount during peak load times and third district uses diesel generators to help it meet peak loads without having to exceed their contract terms with CL&P. Maybe WPCA should negotiate a similar arrangement, using their diesel generator during peak load times.

    It baffles me why there is not a metering system in place at the WPCA plant that would accurately measure how much is used and how much of that is during peak load time. It makes no sense that the WPCA would need to ask for a cost of service analysis to negotiate a better rate. The result of such an analysis should be readily available to third district and WPCA just by reading meters that also record time of day.

  5. Debora

    @Oldtimer,
    The Third (and the Second, which is SNEW) purchases generated power through an electrical purchasing cooperative known as CMEEC, not at a special rate from CL&P.

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