EL CENTRO â€“ At their regular meeting of Tuesday, January 21, the IID Board of Directors voted to drop municipal water rates from $68 per acre foot to $20 per acre foot as part of the new budget for 2014.
$20 is the rate that agricultural users are charged.
Municipal water usage is less than 3% of total water used in the Imperial Valley. The combined usage of industrial and municipal is approximately 3%.
The cities may or may not pass the savings on to their customers.
Also, as part of the new budget, energy rates will increase 7% beginning March 1st.
The Energy Cost Adjustment (ECA) is currently $0.0324 and will move to $0.0415.
The average household bill will go up between $5.75 and $17.17 for the hotter months.
This is in addition to the $33 million funded from the Rate Stabilization Fund.
If you are on the Average Billing Program your rates will not change.
â€œEnergy costs are going up,â€ said Director Stephen Benson. â€œThe fine imposed by FERC is also raising the costs. The ECA will be spread out over the remaining months of 2014. The air conditioning costs are higher during the summer months and spreading out the costs will take the burden off of these months. Jobs are slower during the summer. The over-collection is being used to soften the blow of higher rates over 2 or 3 years instead of just one year so the rate payer wonâ€™t be hit with substantially higher rates the next year.â€
President James Hanks and Director Norma Galindo were the dissenting votes on the ECA rate increase.
â€œI cannot vote, in good conscience, for a rate increase,â€ said Galindo. â€œMany ratepayers are having a hard time getting their unemployment benefits extended and itâ€™s getting toward the end of agricultural season when some workers may have a hardship. I will not vote for any rate increase.”
The Board approved of the 2014 operating and capital budgets of $545,231,100 for the Energy Department and $217,890,600 for the Water Department.