Utility authorizes 5 percent water, electric rate hike | SierraSun.com

Utility authorizes 5 percent water, electric rate hike

In a public meeting Dec. 17, the Truckee Donner Public Utility District’s board of directors voted to raise electric and water rates, connection charges and electric facilities fees by 5 percent for all TDPUD customers. TDPUD customers should start seeing the new rates and increased connection charges on Jan. 16, with the new electric facilities fees coming into effect on Feb. 16, 2004.

In addition, the board took action that should pave the way to allow customers to pay bills and deposits by credit card and to establish credit with the district via a credit check, thereby avoiding the necessity of paying a deposit before service is established.

The water and electric rate increases were designed to allow the TDPUD to keep up with the rising costs of providing power and water to its customers as well as to maintain sufficient reserve funds to be able to accommodate price fluctuations in the electricity and water markets, the agency said.

In the Dec. 17 meeting, new President James Maass led the board through a series of resolutions about the proposed water and electric rate increases, connection charge increases and electric facilities fees increases, all of which passed unanimously. Maass was elected president of the board in a meeting on Dec. 3, replacing Ron Hemig who had held the position for one year (and who remains on the board as a director). Also on the agenda was a resolution to adopt the TDPUD’s proposed 2004 budget, which also received unanimous approval.

The directors voted unanimously to authorize the TDPUD to enter into a contract with a third party payer that will allow TDPUD customers to pay utility bills and/or deposits by credit card. According to TDPUD General Manager Peter Holzmeister, the resolution came as the result of the district’s customers asking for the credit card option of payment.

With the changes, TDPUD plans to use the credit reporting agency Equifax to check on customers’ credit history, allowing many customers to avoid having to pay a deposit to establish service. Staff at the TDPUD hopes to have both of these programs available to customers by the end of January.

In its final decision, the board voted 4-1 to enter into a cable system franchise with Nevada County in to provide broadband services to TDPUD customers. Director Pat Sutton was the one dissenting vote. The cable system franchise has been described by TDPUD staff as one of the last remaining conditions the district must meet before being authorized to provide broadband services.

According to district staff, the broadband project is moving forward on schedule. In November, Eagle Broadband was chosen to provide the district with content as well as video, data, voice and security services, and the district continues to move forward in putting the financing in place to pay for the broadband system.

The TDPUD board meetings are open to the public and usually held on the first and third Wednesdays of each month; however, due to scheduling constraints, the first board meeting of 2004 will not be held on Jan. 7, though it may be rescheduled for Jan. 14. For more information and meeting times call 587-3896 or see http://www.tdpud.org.

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