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IID workshop to focus on power bill hike, key water issues

January 30, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

With power bills set to rise in February, the Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors has scheduled a public workshop for 5 p.m. Tuesday to discuss the increase.

The board also will discuss key water issues with the public.

The meeting will be in Condit Auditorium, 1285 Broadway in El Centro.

The IID Board of Directors called the workshop in response to recent steps the district has taken to cover the rising cost of producing energy.

While the board has not raised power rates, an action that would require public hearings, it has taken steps to increase the portion of power bills listed as energy cost adjustments.

The board has the authority to increase or decrease the adjustment each month based on whether energy costs rise or fall.


The cost of producing energy has been on the rise as natural gas prices have faced violent fluctuations in recent months. Local power plants are fueled by natural gas.

To prevent severe costs during the summer, IID staffers locked in a price for natural gas during the summer months of $7.90 per million BTU, a measurement of gas.

While that is three times higher than what IID paid for natural gas last summer, IID officials think it is much less than the district would have paid without locking in a price.

Still, the higher cost of natural gas means IID power customers will see higher power bills.

Those bill increases will go into effect in February, an action IID officials have said will help alleviate the sharp increases during the summer.

IID staffers have calculated the bill increases people can expect during summer power use.

For a household using 1,000 kilowatts of power per month during the summer, the monthly power bill would be $99.60, up from the bill they would have paid last summer of $92.30.

For a household that uses 2,000 kilowatts of power per month, the cost would be $195.60, up from last summer's monthly bill of $181.

IID Power Department Manager John Steffen has said most households during the summer use at least 2,000 kilowatts.

During the winter months power use in an average household is much reduced.

IID officials have said the bill increase, in effect, is a rate increase and customers need to be made aware.

No other public workshops on the power increase have been scheduled at this time.

The water discussion will involve the quantification settlement agreement, which is meant to create peace between the IID, the Metropolitan Water District and the Coachella Valley Water Authority for 75 years.

Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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