The Prada 17:1 ratio

By From page A5 | June 20, 2014


Within your Monday, June 16 article, “EID approves Bass Lake sale,” Ms. Hodson includes, “The board also agreed to have a discussion of small farm rates …” A bit of clarification is in order.

Director Coco’s request was to have staff enlighten the board and the ratepayers regarding the relationship between domestic water bills and agricultural water bills. The rates are set. The rates are agreed upon. The rates will not be reset.

Included in the April 28 Board Packet is an advisory from staff relating to Director Prada’s April 11, 2014, Mountain Democrat Letter to the Editor, “EID’s $49 small farm rate.” EID staff gently advised the board that Director Prada’s 17:1 ( $829:$49) ratio was “calculated using an incorrect method that did not include the base charge, different tier rates and seasonal variations in use …“EID’s Board President Day refused to ask for staff enlightenment, and now Director Coco wishes to correct Director Day’s careless disregard of staff rebuttal to Director Prada.

An actual EID residential water bill is composed of seven elements — the base rate, three tiers of consumption intervals and three tier rates. An agricultural bill is composed of five elements — one fewer consumption interval and tier rate. Both residential and agricultural bills experience profound seasonal swings in relationship to each other. It is not uncommon for winter agriculture bills to be higher per acre-foot than winter residential bills.

Instead of considering the seven elements of residential bills and the five elements that comprise the agriculture bills along with seasonal variations — instead of that, Director Prada cherry picks one element of the residential structure and one element of the agriculture structure, divides one by the other and comes up with 17:1 … or, thinly disguised, $829:$49.

This piece of campaign demagoguery should never have found its way to the board room and thereby receive the board’s undeserved imprimatur. To carelessly refuse clarity from EID staff is to consciously and deliberately deceive and inflame our ratepayers on the relationship between domestic and agricultural water bills.

Thank you, Director Coco.

Diamond Springs

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