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Electric rate increase public hearing set for Tuesday

A 2 percent increase in electric service rates, which will be used to address Turlock Irrigation District’s forecasted revenue shortfall of $16.7 million, will be the focus of a public hearing on Tuesday.

This possible increase is a revision from an originally proposed 5 percent, which came after the water district reviewed its preliminary budget for the 2015 financial year. Due to a variety of factors, including the relicensing of Don Pedro Reservoir under the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and higher labor costs, TID projected a shortfall of $16.7 million.

“Don Pedro relicensing costs are estimated at approximately $8 million from the years 2015 to 2019,” said TID spokesperson Calvin Curtin in September. “Additionally, we have a workforce that is more technologically advanced, and employees with a higher skill level require a greater rate of pay.”

The 2 percent increase would cover approximately $6 million of the projected shortfall. Other contributions that would lessen the shortfall include a Power Supply Adjustment and TID’s Rate Stabilization Fund, which is money set aside by the Board.

Although Director Joe Alamo originally dissented against scheduling a rate hearing until they adopted the district's final budget, his fellow directors voted to move forward in September with the public hearing. This included Director Michael Frantz, who supported working through the process slowly.

TID has already hosted three public meetings in October in Turlock, Ceres, and Patterson to present staff recommendations and elicit the public’s opinion regarding the proposed increase.

The public hearing will take place at 9 a.m. on Tuesday in the TID Boardroom at 333 E. Canal Dr.