The Silicon Valley Voice

Power To Your Voice

Milestones – Wires Crossed? – Opinion

Publisher Miles Barber talks about The Weekly's recent criticism of Silicon Valley Power and the reporting matters to the community.

As we know, critics you have with you always…even at Thanksgiving time. It seems The Weekly has shocked the community with criticism about Silicon Valley Power. This has created a current of criticism about The Weekly’s reporting.

Shakespeare said it best, “Methinks you doth protest too much.”

SVP, while under the direction and oversight of Santa Clara Council, runs pretty much as an autonomous entity. Even with the competitive rates to residents and businesses, they generate a lot of capital.


Now, we know that it takes millions for infrastructure, equipment and generators to produce their product. The recent acquisition of new equipment required to produce more electricity is in the hundreds of millions.

These funds and their use make SVP a most envious entity as they continue to provide power for businesses and residents.

And this brings us to those living in Santa Clara and benefiting from what have been historically low rates.

SVP admits that residents only use about 5% of its total production. This simply means that 95% of production goes to business and industry.

This raises the question. How can a 5% rate increase on those who generate 5% of SVP’s revenues create a beneficial financial impact on SVP’s bottom line?

If you do the math, it appears that a point zero one (.01) increase to commercial users more than provides an offset for the required increase to residents.

Of course, there are reasons for SVP to increase rates to residents. However, three increases over a two-year period do not sit well with residents or reflect effective planning.

When you look at SVP’s advertising saying it will subsidize new electric car buyers with thousands of rate payors’ dollars, it raises resident’s blood pressure. Electric car buyers represent a small fraction of the market. Last time we checked it was about 3%. This is taxpayer and resident payor money that is being directed to a privileged minority.

There is a fiduciary duty that public servants are given and then expected to apply. The press also has a duty to keep tabs on the process and progress of those officials — appointed or elected.

We appreciate our readers, our supporters and also our critics. Sometimes, they are correct and…so are we.


  1. H Tonking 7 months ago

    Methinks that Miles doth protest way too much to legitimate criticism of poor reporting! Instead he has double down with new falsehoods and doesn’t bother to even try to answer the original criticism in any sensible manner. Residents pay 58% less than they would in PG&E and this is before PG&E’s announced 20% rate increase for the coming year. BTW – Vice Mayor Jain loves the EV rebates so why don’t you ask him about the state-wide low carbon fuel standard implemented by state legislators (not City folks) and Erika could try to “write” an honest story. Jeez, why is Miles is frightened to ask SVP a few simple straight forward questions that would clear up his misconceptions from the original article and these fact-less opinion pieces? You protest too much Miles!

  2. Buchser Alum 7 months ago

    More editorializing from Miles that reads like an ill informed letter to the editor rather than a well thought out editorial by the publisher of a news publication.
    Before you decided to complain about subsidies to electric car users did you bother to look into what it takes to qualify for the rebates? Did you bother to research how many rebates have actually been given out and how much they cost and where the funds for rebates come from?
    Did you do any research or reporting at all before asserting that “it raises resident’s blood pressure?” How do you know this? Did you poll residents? Did you ask a significant number what they think? Do you have any idea how many residents are even aware of the program? Or is this just the latest installment of your inexplicable campaign to attack SVP?
    Methinks thou doth protest too much and that you should act like the publisher of a news publication and spend time reporting and researching your opinions before publishing them.

  3. H Tonking 7 months ago

    Dear Readers, the irony here is that within Miles’ little rant here, he provides his own proof of the false information of the original story/editorial to which he now objects to being called out on. If you might remember the original shaky claim was that residences were subsidizing businesses in the power rates. Yet per Miles’ own writing here “If you do the math, it appears that a point zero one (.01) increase to commercial users more than provides an offset for the required increase to residents.” (of a theoretical 5% increase on rates). So let us reverse that thinking – if we use some SVV magical thinking and assume that it cost nothing to serve residents with power — then using Miles’ own numbers 105% of what residents pay would only still amount to 0.21% of what businesses are paying. That ain’t much of a subsidy and no where near the reporter’s poorly investigated claim of 18%. But rather than dare ADMIT to his original mistake, Miles’ incorporates the new standard of demanding no one is allowed to point about bad journalism and falsehoods (lest they protest too much). Which leads to the question – which money machine is asking Miles to attack the bargain utility and who is SVV trying (and failing) to smear?

    • Buchser Alum 7 months ago

      H Tonking,
      You are absolutely right on the money here. Miles claimed that business and industrial customers were subsidized by residential customers of SVP before but here he is trying to argue that residential customers should not have rates increased because they amount to such a tiny percentage of SVP revenue.
      And in this editorial it seems that Miles is trying to insinuate that business and industrial customers should subsidize residential customers.
      I really wish that Miles or his employees would do some real research or maybe interview professionals at SVP to understand these issues better. It seems to me that business and industrial customers are good for residential customers because they subsidize residential customers at least when it comes to infrastructure.
      Anyone can see that around 5% of revenues are from residential customers and around 95% from business and industrial customers. What we do not know and which would be good for Silicon Valley Voice to ask SVP is what the breakdown of net profits are. And also what the breakdown in infrastructure costs are.
      I suspect that the lion’s share of profits are coming from business and industrial customers and that profits from residential customers could not pay for the infrastructure just for serving residential customers. I suspect that the much higher volume of sales to business and industrial customers is necessary to give SVP the economy of scale to support residential customers as well as it does.
      I suspect that if we did not have as many business and industrial customers we would have a hard time paying for maintenance of existing infrastructure much less upgrades to infrastructure. And paying for all the great employees of SVP who respond to outages and problems and fix them much faster than PG and E does.
      So like you I wonder why Miles is attacking SVP? Is he speaking for some big money concern that for some reason wants public attacks on SVP the way that he speaks for the Forty Niners and advocates for their interests?
      Or is Miles in this case just ranting about his own personal hobbyhorse because he has somehow convinced himself in his own mind that SVP is not serving the people of Santa Clara well?

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