Dear Action Line: I just received my first billing for electricity, as a new homeowner in the Durango area. La Plata Electric Association stated my “Average Daily Cost” was $1.88. This simply isn’t true. Removing the tax and hook up fee, the net cost for the period is $53.34; divided by 18 days, that equals $2.96 per day – not $1.88. It seems to me this way of reporting is quite deceptive and their program needs to correctly state the actual costs. – Wayne D. Peterson, Durango
Dear Wayne: Thanks for pointing this out. Action Line doesn’t always agree with readers, but, as an accountant, definitely sees the issue here.
True, true, Action Line isn’t exactly a Certified Public Accountant, but practically qualifies: Father Of Action Line was an accountant for a half-century-plus. Father of Action Line was one of those guys who, on a hike, would tell you every five minutes how much farther you’d gone and how much elevation you’d gained. Action Line might fire back with a few meaningless baseball statistics, but that didn’t seem to stop Father of Action Line’s incessant progress reports. (Note to self: seek counseling.)
With Action Line’s accounting acumen ascertained, let’s break it down.
Nobody disputes that the “energy charges” – the kilowatt hours used – on your La Plata Electric Association bill are part of “average daily cost.” LPEA’s “base charge,” by definition, is a built-in, fixed cost, and really should be part of “average daily cost.” No way around that. The “peak power charge,” implemented last year as part of a rate increase, is a bit different. It’s based on the one hour per month, between the peak hours of 4 and 9 p.m., where a customer uses the most electricity. “Peak power charge” can be lowered with smart use and will fluctuate slightly each month. Still, it’s really part of everyone’s “average daily cost.” It can’t be dismissed as some frill. Just for kicks, we ran this issue by LPEA to see what its response would be. After a very short wait, it came to pass that Mr. Peterson changed the world!
“After further reflection, we agree with Mr. Peterson that the ‘average daily cost’ should include the kWh use, the ‘base charge,’ and the ‘peak power charge,’” said Hillary Knox, LPEA’s vice president of member experience. “We have initiated discussions with our bill designer.”
And how’s this for quick results? The bill designer made it happen, and the new method will be implemented right away.
“Mr. Peterson should see this change as of his next bill,” Knox said.
Dear Action Line: Durango’s Spring Cleanup is my favorite season of the year. There’s good stuff curbside on every Durango street free for the taking until it’s “cleaned up.” I enjoy rearranging all this good stuff. For example, I created a 12-foot-tall stack of old mattresses in front of my buddy’s house and he loved the “public art.” One year produced a bounty of old exercise equipment (treadmills, stationary bikes, and such), and I displayed a parade of them curbside up on the Avenues. My wife thinks I may be violating a law or ordinance. So, give it to me straight: Is it OK to pull off a spring cleanup pile and redistribute? – Reducereusereconfigure
Dear Reduce: And Action Line thought HE was a smart aleck.
The city of Durango’s Operations Department organizes this annual event, and its Streets Division crews come around to haul off the junk. A fall cleanup is for yard waste – trees, branches, bagged leaves. These cleanups are mostly a really beneficial thing, but can get a little weird. During the time before city crews arrive, vultures wander neighborhoods looking for good stuff. This can be furniture, carpet, wood and valuable baseball cards. Ha – I wish on that last one.
And, of course, there are mattresses and yes, even stationary bikes.
Many items are repurposed every year during Spring Cleanup, said Mike Somsen, city of Durango streets superintendent. Lawn mowers are among them.
“Lawn mowers are commonly snagged from piles, with the well-intentioned new owner thinking that they can repair them and bring them back to a useful life and make a couple of bucks at the summer yard sale,” Somsen said. “The following spring, the same lawn mower ends up back in a pile to be snagged by another optimistic individual who thinks some mechanical CPR can save it. The lawn mower may end up in a half a dozen piles over a few years before it is finally sent to its demise in the land of recycled metal.”
As far as stacking mattresses, or creating a furniture garden in someone’s yard, as Reducereusereconfigure also suggested, it’s not exactly illegal, but also not encouraged. Unless, of course, it’s done in good taste.
As long as these hijinks occur before city crews come around, and don’t create a safety issue, it’s not a problem, Somsen said.
“The added pile should not be too big or city crews may not pick it up,” he cautioned. “It is also a prank that should be played on those friends with a sense of humor.”
Somsen didn’t say he knew this from experience, but one wonders ...
For more information, visit https://co-durango.civicplus.com/346/Spring-and-Fall-Cleanup.
Email questions and suggestions to [email protected] or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. Action Line tries to run the dishwasher after 9 p.m., unless he’s really sleepy.
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