ABOUT THE PROBLEM
Plain and simple, electricity rates in many parts of South San Joaquin County are too high and continue to escalate at alarming rates. PG&E, the current for-profit electric utility for most of South San Joaquin County, recently filed with the California Public Utilities Commission for permission to increase your rates by 10% in 2011, on top of frequent rate increases over the past few years. In geographic areas where publicly-owned electric utilities exist, rates are usually more affordable and system reliability is better than in areas served by investor-owned utilities (or for-profit utilities). In the San Joaquin Valley, Modesto Irrigation District, Turlock Irrigation District, and SMUD (Sacramento Municipal Utility District) are examples of effective public utilities.
SSJID wants to provide retail electric service to Manteca, Ripon and Escalon and nearby unincorporated areas to achieve significant cost savings—15% below PG&E's current electricity rates—service improvement and reliability for its current agricultural customers, residents and businesses. SSJID made a good faith offer of $79.5 million to PG&E to purchase its electric distribution system serving approximately 40,000 customers in our service territory. Unfortunately, PG&E thus far has refused to negotiate for their system.
SSJID has also submitted an application to the San Joaquin Local Agency Formation Commission (SJ LAFCo) to begin the process of receiving approval for our plan of service and financial capabilities. We need LAFCo's approval before we can move forward with our plan to save you 15% on your electric rates. The LAFCo commissioners and your city officials are eager to hear where you stand on who you want to provide you with electric service and the rates you think are fair.
SSJID is ideally suited to deliver reliable, lower-cost electricity to the residential, business and agricultural customers in is service territory. Why? Because SSJID has 100 years of experience providing reliable utility service with local accountability, and is ready to extend that tradition to providing electricity. We already have several experienced power experts working hard to make this plan a reality—together, these experts have years of experience running electric utilities, hiring and managing skilled staff, purchasing power at the lowest prices, making prudent investments, and ensuring that system upgrades and maintenance are SSJID's priorities.
You may wonder how we are so sure we can save you 15% over PG&E's current electric rates. The 15% savings comes from several competitive advantages we have over PG&E:
- PG&E pays its shareholders an 11.45% dividend each year and charges more to generate that double-digit profit. SSJID is a non-profit and will set rates to benefit ratepayers, not shareholders.
- SSJID doesn't have any fancy San Francisco offices or corporate jets to pay for with ratepayer money.
- SSJID has a better credit rating than PG&E, so we can borrow money more cheaply.
Add up all the savings just from these three advantages and it's clear that SSJID can set rates 15% lower than PG&E's and have money to upgrade and maintain the distribution system to provide better reliability and superior customer service. It's simple math, and a win-win for everyone in our region.
In today's stressed economic times, the cost of essential goods and services, such as gasoline, utilities and electricity, are at the top of everyone's mind. Consumers are looking for value from their hard-earned dollars, and SSJID is prepared to offer just that.
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