Letters to the Editor

Website shares the facts

By From page A5 | September 18, 2013

There’s a new section on sierrafoot.org, my personal website, named “EID 2013.” Its purpose is to do updated fact checks and to add a modest amount of analysis. Because one of the current candidates, Greg Prada, publicly has accused me falsely of fabricating data and trying to deceive readers, I’m stepping up my level of discipline in citing sources. Whenever possible I’m posting actual sources on sierrafoot. Where this is limited to only citing references, the reason is legal protection of copyrighted material.

Initial content in “EID 2013” includes one simple but important fact check of candidate Greg Prada’s claim that EID has ongoing cash deficits of $15 million per year. The truth is that EID has not run a cash deficit in this century. Documentation on sierrafoot.org includes annotated excerpts from the 2012 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) and copies of all EID CAFR documents from 1999 to 2012. CAFR financial data uses results reported by an independent auditor.

The “EID 2013” section has one large study of water rates in California. It uses data from a 2006 (copyrighted) study by Black and Veatch, but the more important part is my own original study of 2013 water costs.  Black and Veatch identified rates in 452 service areas, I able to locate rates on the web for 407 service areas, These rates come from 283 rate schedules, all posted in the “Reference” subsection of sierrafoot’s EID 2013 section.

The shortest meaningful summary for typical residential water use is this: EID cost on current rates is 75% of the statewide average. 26% of service areas in California have lower costs than EID, 74 percent have higher costs than EID. From 2006 to September 2013, EID costs have risen $21.55 per month, the state average increase was $26.55 — EID increases were 81 percent of average dollar cost increase.

Asking whether EID rates are too high is a subjective question, only each ratepayer can answer that based on their own values and opinions. My suggestion is that a better index to understanding whether EID has problems is objective quantitative comparison to other agencies that manage the same economic and financial issues. Those metrics suggest that EID has given us more of a success story than a failure story.

My opinion is that EID deserves our support, not counter-productive attacks. A good organization is better able to improve further, an organization in conflict is more likely to have declining performance.

El Dorado Hills

Letter to the Editor


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