Lee DeLano: Modesto Irrigation District electricity customers' burden too high

12/23/2013 2:44 PM

12/23/2013 2:45 PM

According to Sacramento Muncipal Utility District’s (SMUD) website, MID has one of the highest electrical residential rates in the state, nearly equal to PG&E’s and nearly 1.5 times SMUD’s rate.

According to MID’s history book, “The Greening of Paradise Valley,” electricity ratepayers have been subsidizing irrigation operations since 1938.

The preliminary budget for 2014 on the MID website makes it obvious that the direct costs for irrigation operations will be more than $12.2 million. MID delivers 173,750 acre-feet of water per year; therefore, that direct cost is $70.43 per acre-foot. MID charges irrigators $29.50 per acre per year ($9.86 per acre foot) for 57,955 irrigated acres; generating $1.7 million. Electric ratepayers suffer the remaining burden of more than $10 million per year.

This is not the whole story and does not reflect the true cost of service. The city of Modesto charges domestic water users a true cost of service.

Hopefully, the new MID board of directors will take action to relieve the electric ratepayers of the irrigation costs in the near future.

LEE DeLANO

Modesto

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