February 9, 2013 Meeting Summary


E-mail and phone reminders


7 members


Agenda Items:

The meeting began about 11:18 am

  • Water Shortage Emergency Feb 21 – 28
    • What:
      • From February 21 through February 28 there is a citywide ban on ANY outdoor watering.
      • Refilling of pools, spas, or fountains, and washing vehicles (other then at commercial car washes) is also banned.
      • Leaks must be fixed within 24 hours.
      • These restrictions are imposed by law with fines for violation.  The city intends to have extra employees driving around looking for violations.  They also encourage reporting violations to 626-744-8888.  (That number will also have recorded status updates.)
    • Why:
      • A water emergency has been declared because during those 8 days the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) is shutting down all water deliveries to Pasadena and other foothill communities as it makes system repairs and upgrades in Eagle Rock and LaVerne.
      • Pasadena will fill its reservoirs completely prior to the shutdown and will pump from ground supplies at maximum capacity during the shutdown, but even if all goes according to plan that would barely be enough to get through the eight days at the usual usage rate for late February.  Therefore it is absolutely necessary to reduce usage during that time.
      • In addition to the possibility that the MWD work could take longer then planned, the ground water pumping could be reduced by a break down there. Or a major fire event or line breakage could use extra water.
    • How:
      • If you have a sprinkler/watering system, turn it off before Feb 21.
      • If you have a gardener, make sure you inform them.  If they manage a watering system for you, make sure they understand it must be turned off and do so.  If they usually use the water, make sure they understand the should not do so during that time.
      • If it isn’t raining, do extra watering in the days prior to the shutdown.
      • Plan to conserve water indoors also.  For example, adjust when you do laundry to get it done before the shutdown and do as little as possible during.  Same with dishes.  Take short showers, not baths.
      • Renew or create emergency water supplies before the shutdown in case things don’t go as planned.
  • Annual Newsletter content and distribution plan
    • It’s time again to put together and distribute our annual newsletter / introduction to the Association.
    • Suggested topics include
      • Association introduction
      • Association officer election
      • The potential soccer fields
      • Water shutdown
      • LA Fitness into Pacific Theater; Progressive Insurance into former “Gentlemen’s Club”
      • Keeping cats indoors and not leaving food outdoors
      • Properly cleaning up after dogs on walks
    • Hope to have newsletter written and reproduced for distribution by the week of Feb 18.  Seeking more volunteers to split up the distribution load.  It’s exercise and a good way to become more familiar with your neighborhood!
  • Annual Association Election at March meeting
    • The March meeting is time for our annual election of officers.
    • Which officers are willing to stand for re-election?
    • Anyone new want to run for election as an officer?
  • PWP electric usage comparison reports
    • Since June 2011 about half of the Pasadena Water and Power electricity customers have been receiving a special electricity usage report every couple of months (about a month after the bill) with customized information and graphs.  The graphs show usage over the months and comparisons of 100 “neighbors” with “similarly sized homes.”
    • Just came across info online about this.  Participant selection was random. So those of you haven’t seen such a report and wondered what the rest of us were talking about are apparently in the half not getting the reports
    • The pilot project has been comparing the bills of those sent the reports to those who weren’t to see if getting the reports reduces electrical usage versus the rest.  Supposedly the customers getting the reports have reduced their bills by 2-3% compared to those not getting them.
    • The pilot project is scheduled to last through June this year.  They claim it is estimated it will cost $275,000 per year to extend the program.
    • PWP has an online survey to get feedback.  Among the questions is whether you would be willing to pay an extra $1 or $2 per bill for the usage comparison report.  Look for the survey link under Latest News & Events on the PWP webpage: cityofpasadena.net/waterandpower
    • If you are part of the program, you can also create an account on a website (cityofpasadena.net/waterandpower/myenergy/default.asp).  Using the web site:
      • You can see the information sent by mail, as well as an additional graph comparing your usage to average outdoor temperature.
      • You can change settings to get the report by e-mail or not at all.
      • You can see more information about what they define as your “neighbors”.
        • One example of what they will tell you about the comparison group of 100 neighbors is
          • All within 0.5 miles (average 0.2 miles away)
          • Average of 1561 sq ft
          • All are single family houses
          • Average 3 occupants
        • The first three numbers are readily attained from County property assessment information. Their information about occupants is more problematic.  No idea how they arrived at that number, but they may well have purchased census and/or commercial marketing reports.
        • As one can see, if your home diverges significantly from the average size or number of occupants being compared that could help explain a higher or lower energy usage in the comparisons.  (Although one would think the size of a home heated by gas would have much more to do with gas usage then electrical usage.)
        • Another totally unknown factor is not only the number of “occupants”, but how often they are actually in the home.  When “occupants” are away at work, school, or traveling there should be considerably less usage.
      • You can see and/or modify the information they have about your home and use for making the comparisons and offering suggestions about improving your usage.  (Note that in creating the account you consent to their terms that you will only provide correct information, and their privacy policy that the info will be shared with PWP and its up to PWP who they share it with.)
      • You can set savings goals and track progress, but this feature isn’t all that useful with our bi-monthly meter readings.  (Have seen a similar presentation on a PG&E account where the meter provides hour by hour data which is made available within a couple days of usage.)
  • Local Crime Summary
    • For the last month, from crimemapping.com:
      • Monday Jan 14, 2:53 pm, Residential Burglary, 3200 block Del Vina
      • Thursday Jan 31, 8:09 am, Grand Theft Auto, 400 block Santa Paula
      • Saturday Jan 26, 10:07 pm, Malicious Mischief Misdemeanor Vandalism, 400 block Vineyard Pl
      • Upper Hastings shows several more residential burglaries and vehicle vandalism/theft.
    • May have been a break-in/theft on Vineyard Ln on Jan 13; apparently was not reported to police.
  • anything else attendees wish to discuss
    • Former Marie Callender’s development?
      • Attendee noted that former Marie Callender’s on Foothill Blvd has been torn down and a big building is now being built there.
      • Could not see any sign indicating what the project is.
      • Subsequent to our meeting, a search on city’s website reveals a permit for New Construction of 15,878 sq ft, 2 story building – Aquatic Center.  The applicant is in Tustin and the tenant of record is “Water Works Aquatic Center” located in Irvine.
      • Apparently the project required no variances or other discretionary approvals.  The information online is limited to a series of permit checks and approvals and inspections with no details about the project beyond that extremely short description.
    • Why trenching on Sierra Madre Villa?
      • Question raised as to what all the street disruption is for?
      • Evidence indicates another or replacement underground electric line being put in.
      • Beyond that, don’t know.  Could be repair to the system.  Sierra Madre Villa was originally undergrounded about 1995.  Could be part of the citywide underground electric system upgrade from 4kV to 17kV.  Or maybe it could be in support of extra capacity needed for a particular building.
      • If anybody out there knows, please send a note.
    • When will missing/damaged street name signs be replaced?
      • Question raised about when the street signs that were damaged or lost in the windstorm will be replaced.  Specifically know that that sign at Estado and Avocado Ln is still missing.
      • Answer unknown.  Will see what can find out.
    • Utility related fraud and scams
      • Pasadena Water and Power is warning against several common scams being perpetrated using claimed relationships to water, power, or gas utilities.
      • Scams they are specifically warning about are:
        • Claiming to represent or promote government utility assistance programs.  These occur via phone, online, and home visits.  They may end up asking for social security or banking information.  One of the phone call versions starts out something like “President Obama has approved special funding through the Federal Reserve Bank…”.
        • A caller or visitor claiming to to work for a utility and demanding immediate payment or they will turn off the service.
        • Unscheduled home visits from someone posing as a meter reader or inspector.
        • Contractors claiming to be working with the utility to do a “energy audit” or saying the utility requires you to do some kind of retrofit.
      • How to stay away from these scams:
        • Remember that real utility personnel will always have a picture id.  Pasadena Water and Power personnel ids include the city seal and an employee number.  They will also always arrive in an official city vehicle.  If anything seems suspicious, don’t hesitate to keep your door closed and call the utility at the phone number on your bill for verification.  If they leave or give you a hard time when you say you’re going to verify their information, call the police.
        • Neither Pasadena Water and Power, nor contractors working for it, are currently doing home energy audits.  (And if they were, they wouldn’t just show up at your door.)
        • Often callers claiming to be working for something like an “energy center” are just contractors fishing for work.  The claimed utility connection is nothing more then that they might correctly or incorrectly inform you of rebates you can find out about directly from the utility.  At worst, they aren’t even contractors and are fishing for information to use to steal from you or your neighbors.
        • Pasadena Water and Power says there are currently no federal utility bill pay assistance programs. PWP and the State of California do have pay assistance programs.  If you are having trouble paying your bill, call the utility directly and ask for information about the available programs.
        • Pasadena Water and Power will send notices by mail about delinquent accounts, including the “Final Notice”. If the bill isn’t paid, the service will be cut off.  Representatives will not demand or accept payment for delinquent accounts in the field.  They will not phone the customer to demand payment.  The customer must initiate the payment – in person at City Hall, via customer login online, or by calling PWP.

Next meeting is March 9, 11:15 am, at Hastings Branch Library

Adjourned about 11:50 am