Letters to the Editor

EID rate hocus pocus

By From page A5 | April 30, 2014


In 2013, EID’s 950 Agriculture water rate recipients collectively consumed 20.2 percent of EID’s sold water. Most all agricultural water currently is sold at $49 per acre foot while residential ratepayers pay $829 per acre foot for water consumption over .6 acre feet annually.

In its “Local Agency Guidelines for Compliance with Proposition 218”, The Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) states: “Article XIII D (i.e., Proposition 218) makes no distinction for agricultural water. Thus, domestic, municipal and industrial, and agricultural water should be analyzed using the same tests.”  The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, authors of Proposition 218, go on to state: “To the extent that tiered water rates are imposed in a manner that deviates from “cost of service” requirements, those rates are in violation of Proposition 218. Local governments which do not abide by the requirements of the new constitutional language do so at risk of litigation.” 

Yet rather than follow ACWA guidelines and have agriculture customers pay their proportional 20 percent share of EID’s water-related debt costs, EID’s politically driven rate structure assigns a mere 2 percent of EID’s water-related debt costs to Agriculture ratepayers. Because EID’s agriculture rates reflect a one-to-ten disproportionate assignment of debt costs, EID’s 39,000 non-agriculture water users are absorbing more than $4 million  annually of extra debt costs to subsidize EID’s 230 agriculture and 720 residential small farm ratepayers. This $4 million over-assignment of debt costs to regular ratepayers adds 15 percent to the water bills of EID’s 39,000 residential, commercial and recreational turf ratepayers.

Ignoring this grossly disproportionate 2 percent vs. 20 percent debt cost assignment which was constructed using totally dissimilar tests, and thereby violating ACWA’s rate assignment guidelines, EID’s general manager and general counsel are adamant that EID’s rates fully comply with Proposition 218. Rather than following the legal requirements for cost-proportional rates, both men take the position that EID compliance with Article 13 D of the State of California Constitution and with ACWA guidelines are subject to override by board vote politics.

I most vehemently disagree. When I took my oath of office to adhere to the State of California Constitution, I did not have my fingers crossed. The law is the law and the numbers are the numbers.

Board Director Dale Coco of Division 4 asked in the April 10 EID board meeting that the current board quickly review and validate that EID’s current rates comply with Proposition 218. I earnestly pray that Director Coco didn’t have his fingers crossed when he took his oath of office and that he stand with me to re-do EID’s cost of services and obtain cost-proportional, legally compliant rates for EID’s 39,000 regular ratepayers.

In closing, I reiterate that I am supportive of ways to mitigate water costs for the agricultural ratepayers who are legitimately and materially in the commercial business of Agriculture. But I most certainly am against extending agricultural rates to the 540 new entrants to the residential small farm rate category that EID Management wrongly allowed in the last two years.

EID Director, Division 2

Letter to the Editor

Discussion | 4 comments

  • Ernie LouisMay 02, 2014 - 12:46 pm

    Prada has used funny math and misleading statements since I was introduced to him as "The Gadfly". Nothing has changed. He tries to rally the people in El Dorado Hills at the cost of the rest of the County which currently shares EDH's cost of Pumping water from Folsom Lake. He needs to be RECALLED. Ernie Louis

  • Jon JakowatzMay 08, 2014 - 4:16 pm

    "EDH pumped water" is the real fallacy. All EID treated water flowing from a pipe is pumped during its meandering journey to a ratepayer's spigot. EID uses Folsom Lake as a storage facility that is much cheaper than the cost of building and maintaining a tank farm with the same capacity.

  • Paul RavelingJune 21, 2014 - 3:32 pm

    Did Jon just discover this about pumped water? Our former director, Harry Norris, called it to the attention of the EID board no later than 2008. That's why the separate billing for Pumped Zones and Gravity Zones was abandoned in the 2009 rates. The entire district has had the same rate schedule for the past half decade.

  • Paul RavelingJune 21, 2014 - 4:01 pm

    Oops, by "the same rate schedule" I mean geographically, not chronologically. Stated differently, one set of rates applies to the entire district. Apparently Jon confused pumped/gravity with the difference between potable (treated) and nonpotable (raw, untreated). Ag rates, including Small Farm Tier 2, are for a commitment to deliver raw water. At least for Small Farm accounts, EID often meets that commitment with potable water in order to save the cost of installing and maintaining separate mains and pumps for potable & nonpotable water. If the board would like to review that practice it would be interesting to see details of the cost tradeoffs between one delivery system and two.



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