Letters to the Editor

Voodoo math

By From page A5 | October 16, 2013

New material in the “EID 2013” section of sierrafoot.org includes two more issue fact checks and a direct response to the article published in mid-July by candidate Greg Prada. These updates can be reached directly through links in a “new minor updates” box on the sierrafoot.org home page.

Mr. Prada’s writing presents many factual problems, but one looks like it results from  voodoo math. He said that I “willfully and/or ineptly misrepresented and understated EID’s water comparative cost efficiencies by $498 per ratepayer annually.” This referred to my notes on a 2011 water cost survey that showed EID 46th cheapest of 216 California agencies. The original data was from the American Water Works Association, and that data is included in the response posted on sierrafoot.org.

My instant reaction was “Huh? Off by $498? I only paid $401.73 for water in 2011, not $900.”  The AWWA survey is consistent with that, it cites $32.59 as monthly cost for 1,500 cubic feet of EID water in 2011, which extrapolates to $391.08 per year.

One new fact-check page reports current 2013 cost of 1,500 cfm of water in 26 greater Sacramento service areas. Average costs from rates are somewhat lower in this area than the California average, EID costs are slightly lower than our area average. Almost all California water agencies experienced the same financial problems in the “Great Recession”: Substantial drops in non-rate revenues triggered need to raise rates. Also, water-agencies’ cost inflation generally run about 5 percent per year. Part of that is from continuing escalation in regulatory requirements.

The second new fact check is about debt, which is significant in credit rating agencies’ metrics. Standard and Poors geve EID a rating of A+, where “A” means “Strong capacity to meet financial commitments, but somewhat susceptible to adverse economic conditions and changes in circumstances.” “A” is S&P’s third best rating out of 12, second of three ratings that it classifies as Investment Grade. Moody’s most recent rating was A1, which is similar to the S&P rating.

The debt fact check also compares a few debt ratio metrics among EID and nine other randomly chosen agencies. The short summary is that EID’s metrics place it in the middle of this group.

Paul Raveling
El Dorado Hills

Letter to the Editor

Discussion | 1 comment

  • Hey Paulie!October 12, 2013 - 6:50 pm

    You certainly are NOT a man of few words. If only any of us readers could figure out what the heck you're babbling about. Weren't you the guy featured in that movie "A Beautiful Mind"?



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