Here you’ll find the latest news from SSJID about our upcoming LAFCo hearing. The links to the left will take you to the many reports and documents related to our plan, news stories and local media outlets.
At LAFCO’s request, SSJID submitted an addendum to our Environmental Impact Report examining Community Choice Aggregation.
View the document here.
The addendum was open for a 45-day public comment period that ended August 20, 2012.
June 2012 Update
In the U.S. Army’s Best Ranger competition, teams of America’s toughest soldiers compete in a series of grueling physical and mental challenges. The event many competitors say is the toughest is the “hike of unknown duration.”
In that event, the soldiers put on their packs and start hiking – without knowing where the finish line will be. It could be 40 miles away or 80, and they have no way of gauging their progress or knowing how close they are to the end. They just have to keep slogging along and trust they’ll reach the finish line eventually.
We imagine those of you supporting SSJID’s effort to become the electric provider for Manteca, Escalon and Ripon can relate.
The truth is, we thought we’d be over the finish line by now – that LAFCo would have reviewed and approved our plan, and that we’d be negotiating with PG&E to buy the electric distribution network in the District. It just hasn’t happened yet. Every time we think we’re getting close, another delay pushes the finish line back again.
The latest delay is PG&E and LAFCO’s request that we include a “Community Choice Aggregation” option in our Environmental Impact Report. Community Choice Aggregation (or CCA) is a way communities can purchase their own power and deliver it through PG&E’s system. SSJID studied the CCA option and determined it's not the most efficient structure for delivering lower-cost electricity to District residents. Not surprisingly, PG&E has also vigorously opposed recent CCA efforts in San Francisco and Marin, but now argues that in San Joaquin County we should consider CCA. We think it’s an obvious stall tactic, but if we don’t do it PG&E could sue LAFCo after the vote and delay the process even further.
So we’re revising the Environmental Impact Report to include an analysis of Community Choice Aggregation. That’ll be finished later this summer, then the EIR will be open for a 45-day public comment period. SSJID has to review and respond to those comments, and then our application can be considered by LAFCo. We think that our hearing could come in September or October.
For all of you supporting SSJID through this process, thank you for your support and patience. We don’t know when the finish line will come, but we promise we’ll keep marching along until we get there. The benefits of public power and lower-cost electricity are just too important for our communities to give up now.
View Article Here
September 2011 Update
South San Joaquin Irrigation District appreciates your support for our effort to become the electric provider for Manteca, Escalon and Ripon – and reduce rates 15% below PG&E’s. You are among thousands of supporters that have spoken out for affordable rates and safe, reliable service, so thank you!
SSJID has submitted its last required reports and studies (a mountain of documents!) to the San Joaquin Local Agency Formation Commission – LAFCo – which must vote on our application.
Some of these documents require a public comment period before a vote can be scheduled. We hope for a hearing early next year and will let you know as soon as a date is set.
As we move into this final phase, help from you, our supporters, will make a huge impact on our success before LAFCo.
In future e-mails, we’ll tell you how you can help bring lower-cost, safe and reliable public power to our area by:
Putting up a yard or business sign
Writing a letter to LAFCo and the local newspaper editors
Forwarding our emails to your friends so they can support us too, and
Attending the LAFCo hearing so the Commissioners know how much the community wants SSJID as their electric provider. We hope to see as many of you there as possible.
Your support in this final phase is critical, as this is the time when words turn into action! Together, we can make affordable electricity happen for our communities. Look for our next update soon...
View Article Here
February 23, 2011 - Update on SSJID's Electric Plan Before San Joaquin LAFCo
The question comes up often these days: "How much longer until SSJID becomes our power provider?"
We look forward to the day when we hopefully will be able to answer that question with "Now!" The current status of our application before the San Joaquin Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) has not yet been deemed to be complete, as there are several more studies that are still in progress before our hearing date can be set.
The great news is that the second independent expert study that LAFCo commissioned from PA Consulting of Denver, CO, supports SSJID's contention that we have the financial resources and ability to purchase the system AND offer a 15% discount from PG&E's current rates.
The first expert study concluded that SSJID has the expertise and experience to run an electric utility. However, there were a few areas where PA's economic assumptions differed from SSJID's. In response, SSJID submitted a supplement to our original application focusing on three strategies that we believe will enable us to overcome PA's concerns. Briefly, these strategies include:
- Reinvesting revenue created by the sale of retail electricity back into the business in order to support a rate reduction.
- Recognizing that PG&E's rates will rise and that anticipated higher future wholesale power costs should also be applied to PG&E's rates, not just SSJID's.
- Investing additional equity to acquire PG&E's system and lowering our long-term borrowing costs. By using the District's considerable cash reserves from our share of Tri-Dam revenue, SSJID can ensure a 15% discount.
The consultants reviewed our supplemental application and, while SSJID is still in the process of carefully analyzing the report's findings, concurred that our strategies will enable SSJID to make the numbers work. The report by PA agreed with our estimate of $39 million in upfront equity, but determined that SSJID would have to contribute $15 million annually to achieve the 15% discount. Because PA Consulting projected future power costs to rise dramatically, if realized, this would result in SSJID's hydropower generation resources to be more valuable than ever, bringing in an estimated $20 million a year. This would leave enough cash to continue maintaining and enhancing SSJID's irrigation and treated drinking water services. In summary, there was no case in which PA could demonstrate that SSJID would not be able to deliver discounts to PG&E rates.
"We still don't agree with what PA says we may have to pay to purchase PG&E's distribution assets, but even if they're right, we can do it," says SSJID General Manager Jeff Shields, "If the $15 million a year investment from Tri-Dam revenue is the outcome, we'll still have money left over to address emergencies and continue to maintain and enhance our irrigation and municipal water systems."
Stay tuned to our efforts over the next few months. LAFCo estimates that once all studies are complete, SSJID's hearing may be scheduled for as early as mid-summer or early fall.
Click here to see PA Consulting Group's San Joaquin LAFCo Market Expert Report
February 4, 2010 - SSJID 3 for 3 at Local Cities!
When the Escalon City Council voted unanimously on February 1 to endorse SSJID’s plan to bring lower electric rates to city residents and businesses, it was an important step. It meant that all three cities we serve – Manteca, Ripon and Escalon – are behind our plan to deliver lower-cost electricity to the region.
Citizens see the benefits SSJID’s plan will bring to the area and turned out at all three council meetings to tell their elected leaders they are tired of paying PG&E’s ever-increasing rates. Those leaders listened and the council votes show it. From all of us at SSJID, we would like to extend a sincere thanks to everyone who came out to the city council meetings, and to all the council members who voted for progress and public power.
We wish this was the last vote necessary and we could move forward tomorrow, but it’s not. LAFCo, which will ultimately have to vote for our plan for it to become a reality, has requested further environmental studies. And although it’s a time-consuming process and will most likely delay LAFCo’s vote, it’s beginning right now. An independent economic analysis is also under way, and all those findings and reports will be completed during the months ahead.
We will keep you updated through this site, and our Twitter and Facebook pages, as new developments occur. But please know this: At SSJID, we are committed to bringing lower-cost electric power to our region. We’re working on it and will keep working on it until the last bureaucratic and regulatory hurdle is crossed and we become the area’s electric provider.
With rates 15% lower than PG&E’s, local control and increased reliability, it will be worth the wait!