Today, Commissioner Fish announced a first-of-its-kind partnership between the City of Portland and the Citizens’ Utility Board of Oregon (CUB). Next Wednesday, January 8, the City Council will take up a Resolution, co-sponsored by Commissioners Nick Fish and Steve Novick, formally approving the agreement.
CUB, a public benefit non-profit, was created in 1984 by a citizens’ ballot initiative to represent the interests of residential utility customers state-wide.
The City of Portland provides sewer, stormwater, and water services to 180,000 customer accounts, almost 90% of which are residential.
In its three decades of service, CUB has been a leader in ratepayer advocacy, achieving an estimated savings of $5.8 billion for residential ratepayers across Oregon. CUB has a track record of successful advocacy for residential ratepayers across Oregon – older adults on fixed incomes, hardworking parents, young families just starting out.
During this proposed five-year partnership, CUB will provide outside, independent analysis of the operations and budgeting of the City’s two utility bureaus, the Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) and the Portland Water Bureau (PWB), and will make recommendations to the Council based on that analysis.
CUB will conduct extensive community outreach to key stakeholders, including neighborhood groups, commercial and large industrial customers, civic groups, and environmental organizations to identify issues that are important to ratepayers. CUB will then develop recommendations concerning the bureaus’ budgets, capital planning, and longer-term policy questions.
Commissioner Fish is committed to high standards of accountability and transparency in his bureaus, and we believe that sunshine leads to better decisions and outcomes.
To acknowledge and honor CUB’s independence, the City will not pay for this outside oversight. Instead, the City will publicize its partnership with CUB and ask Portland customers to consider joining the member-supported organization.
Portland City Council to consider giving independent watchdog group 'keys to kingdom' of city water, sewer bureaus
Andrew Theen in The Oregonian
Citizen Utility Board asked to review water and sewer bureaus
Jim Redden in the Portland Tribune