Greg Prada and I both attended the Oct. 11 EID board meeting, but it’s as if we saw different meetings.
He said “No … not one director gave cutting planned spending increases even one ounce of thought.” Greg, where have you been? Cutting costs has been an ongoing mantra at EID for years. It doesn’t all happen at the board meeting of your choice. One of the most visible examples was cutting 79 employees, a quarter of their workforce, since Ane Deister left as general manager on Dec. 31, 2007. EID also is still trimming staff costs further with furlough days.
He said the board increased capital spending in the new Capital Improvement Plan. Actually, they just finished cutting $55 million out of the CIP to adopt it on Sept. 26. It’s maximally lean, containing only needed projects. Level 1 projects are to comply with regulatory mandates; Level 2 to maintain safety and reliability. That’s the entire CIP except for one project to increase efficiency. There’s no fat here.
He said water rates are going up 28 percent. My immediate thought was to wonder where that came from. The first call to EID to check up produced a response of, “We’re wondering too.” There actually is a way to find a 28 percent increase, but it involves a shift to a new rate formula that pays 50 percent of water costs from the base charge and 50 percent from the consumption charge. This came from the Cost of Services citizens’ advisory committee, as did the specific rate settings. Is there sense in committee member Greg Prada blaming EID for taking the committee’s advice?
Let’s do a couple different sanity checks on rates. My own daily water cost ranged from $.64 per day in winter to $1.39 per day in summer in 2011. This supports me, my wife, our cats and lots of landscaping. The cost of three to five days of water in summer, 12 to 20 days in winter, would finance one sandwich. If instead I had bought supermarket bottled water, my peak summer cost would have been $513 per two months instead of EID’s $85.
Greg Prada and other EID detractors seem to want rates to be not just as low as possible, they want them lower. Let’s stick to reality.
El Dorado Hills