Steve Mohasci: Electric customers deserve credit

June 21, 2014 

Modesto Irrigation District electric customers are the proverbial “goose that laid the golden egg.” In 1924, a USDA official called retail electric sales “the best cash crop of an irrigation project” (“The Greening of Paradise Valley,” by Dwight H. Barnes). That crop is still being harvested with great results.

First, the new Don Pedro Dam was paid for by the electric customers of MID and TID (47.7 percent), the city of San Francisco (41.1 percent) and the federal and state taxpayers (11.1 percent).

Second, irrigation system customers have never paid the full cost of water delivery in the past 87-plus years. In fact, from 1959 until 1974, the MID irrigation system customers paid nothing for water deliveries.

Third, since MID irrigation operations have never generated a profit, all of the irrigation system infrastructure has been provided for by electric customers.

The MID electric customers own the irrigation system. Groundwater replenishment from surface irrigation is a benefit that results from the electric customers’ investment. In years of extensive groundwater pumping for irrigation, the electric customers should receive an annual credit on their electric bills.

Steve Mohasci, Modesto

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