I will say that the MG&E management and Commissioners did display a modicum of survival skills the other night when faced with an onslaught of pointed questions. Chief inquisitor, Lincoln Andrews, had them - to use a boxing term - on the ropes especially “The Traveling Man” Don Triner. If this was a boxing match the referee would have quickly brought it to a halt and declared the collection from the MG&E victims of a TKO. “Consultants” and all.
Mr. Andrews showed he is capable of roasting a lot more than the editor of the Gazette and he continued a verbal execution that was all based on the MG&E putting on a display that was a mile wide and an inch deep. The tap dancing that took place by the MG&E collection that would have made BoJangles Robinson proud except the end result was what would expect when one side has the high ground, facts and a pile of angry ratepayers - to use another famed boxing term - No Mas. Capitulation. MG&E in full retreat. Cute graphics, double-speak and pricey consultants didn’t quite cut it.
What eventually came down was a moratorium on travel, more rate reductions and an increase in PILOT as the MG&E was in high profile damage control. IMO this will only increase the blood lust as the operations and especially contracts will face even more detailed scrutiny by those who have this apparently bloated “Public Municipal” firmly in their target zone. I’m sure the inner sanctum at the MG&E is hopeful that just maybe all those concessions will get the hounds off the scent for a bit but I suspect they’ll be more questions raised and more and more.
Now Commissioner Joseph Ranahan and a local resident, Brian Giovanoni, mentioned that any increase in PILOT is tantamount to a tax increase. Even Sandra Richter - the 110K spokesperson for MG&E - put the kibosh on that train of reasoning. This will just be a bit more out of their stated 4% profit. What was shocking was that one - Mr. Ranahan - actually takes up space on the Commission and didn’t comprehend this. Maybe Mr. Ranahan can answer why - on his watch - Braintree has about 35% more in revenues than Middleboro and pays a PILOT of 1.5M to Middleboro’s $400,000 while keeping rates 2.7 cents lower than the MG&E? How about a little less travel and a bit more diligence in what we placed our trust in - that the commissioners would protect our investment.
What is clear is that the excessive travel produced little of value to the rate payers and a nice plum “bonus” or sorts to elected officials. Mr. Triner can always return to the DPS (Dreaded Private Sector) and once again get the luxury he apparently craves.
But the MG&E can proudly state “We’re #1!” in the all important category of executive pay for a municipal as headmaster Granahan pulls in top dollar and not far behind is the rest of the illustrious management team that ranks either in the middle or very high depending upon how one wishes to include/exclude personnel in municipal comparisons. As Disraeli once said about three kinds of lies: “Lies….damn lies…and statistics.” Depends on what they wish to include and how they wish to interpret or frame it. So far it’s not flying since the third rate dips**ts that comprise Bub Town fully realize a pile of horse droppings when they hear it. All the consultants in the world could not rescue Humpty Dumpty Granahan. Say, how about that 7M?
Next is those gas rates and the bottom line is their bottom line will soon be a bit less since this is a collective “Gocha” and that will also see a decrease. I’m sure they were just ready to announce that even without a public outcry - yeah, right.
Of course the promise of further rate reductions (bribes) is on the agenda as they make an ill fated attempt at damage control. Seemed local Rich Young didn’t really buy into the all of a sudden generous mode of the MG&E. My, Rich, you are such a skeptic! You actually think they would have some concern over lowering a rate that could/should have been lowered so that some may have actually afforded to occasionally pay their bills during a harsh winter? And, yes, what better time to have a reduction than in the warmer weather.
Now - to follow up on Rich Young - how about a rebate? Seems the locals have been paying a wee bit more than we should have and probably for years. Maybe that 7M could be 5M?
However all this public scrutiny has had a very positive impact as the MG&E will now come to their collective senses (I hope) and actually work for the owners and the Commissioners will actually be somewhat independent and oversee rather than be a compliant partner. Gee…why did it take a new guy - Mike Solimni - to get the webs of amnesia wiped away?