The Turlock Irrigation District will keep an electric power purchase fee flat, thanks to the continued low cost of natural gas.
The Power Supply Adjustment is a per-kilowatt hour charge which shifts every six months to reflect the costs of purchasing electricity. That PSA can cost consumers an extra one cent per kilowatt-hour, at most, and can provide a half-cent per kilowatt credit to customers when TID has a surplus in its PSA balancing account
For TID, which generates the vast majority of its own electricity, the PSA is closely tied to the cost of natural gas, which powers the district’s Walnut Energy Center, Almond Power Plants, and Walnut Power Plant. TID also derives energy from a wind farm in Klickitat County, Wash., a small fuel cell in Turlock, hydro generators at its Don Pedro Reservoir, and a coal-fired plant in Boardman, Ore.
As natural gas costs are near historic lows, the PSA will remain flat at a half-cent per kilowatt-hour credit. The district’s PSA balancing account sits at $32 million currently, as base rates pay for some percentage of purchase power costs and the PSA was set to a 1 cent charge before Jan. 1.
TID will review the PSA again in June 2013.
Regardless of the PSA, TID rates will increase on Jan. 1, year two of a three-year stepped rate increase approved in 2011 to offset the rising costs of meeting state renewable energy requirements. The increase was the district’s first since 2009, when rates went up 15 percent system wide.
Rates rose 4 percent on Jan. 1, and will rise 4 percent Jan. 1, 2013, and a further 4 percent Jan. 1, 2014. The 2013 increase will amount to $5 per month on most consumers’ bills.
TID uses 99 percent of its water, report finds
The Turlock Irrigation District’s comprehensive agriculture water management plan allows the district to make use of 99 percent of the water which flows through its system, according to a report delivered to directors on Tuesday.
That astonishing water conservation rate is linked to TID’s conjunctive water usage, which relies on surface water for irrigation in rainy years and groundwater pumping to assist in dry years. As such, even when water seeps through canals into underground cisterns, that water is still a part of TID’s irrigation system.
“We’re able to supply a relatively steady supply over the course of wetter years and drier years,” said Debbie Liebersbach, TID Water Planning Department manager.
The report, required by California, analyzed how water has flowed through the TID system for the past 21 years.
Crops use about 60 to 75 percent of the total irrigation water delivered, while the remainder goes into groundwater to recharge reserves. The district’s only losses come from evaporation, according to the report.
The report will be made available to the public for review on Nov. 20 at TID offices and local libraries. On Dec. 11, TID directors will hold a public hearing to consider adopting the plan.