Utility building fees increase six-fold | SierraSun.com

Utility building fees increase six-fold

Renee Shadforth

It’s been more than 20 years since the Truckee Donner Public Utility District has raised its electric facility fees for developers, but that’s changing.

At the March 5 meeting of the district’s board of directors, the board unanimously passed an ordinance to increase the fees for 600 percent, from $200 to $1,200, for residential development.

“I wish we would’ve gone 15 years back and [raised the fees] then, so it could’ve gone up gradually,” said board member Joe Aguera.

District staff predicts new development in Truckee will tax the district’s existing electric system and the revenue from the fees will mitigate the impacts of those demands. The Electric System Master Plan, a 15-year blueprint for the district’s projected load growth, estimates the total cost, in 2002 dollars, of all capital improvement projects will be $9,390,400 – or $626,000 per year.

Commercial development fees will increase $6 per amp, depending on panel size.

In existing residential areas, the developer, or customer wanting to increase their panel size, will pay the difference between the current fee and whatever fee was paid for the parcel at the time of the original residential development.

“We feel the same way [the district does]; the customer should pay for their share,” said Joe Burns, executive director of the Contractors Association of Truckee Tahoe. “And $1,200 of $40,000 you pay before you pound the first nail, isn’t a big difference.”

For the most part, Burns agrees with the district’s ordinance and has discussed the proposal with staff for the past eight months. Although the ordinance wasn’t perfect, he said, he was ready to see it approved by the board.

“We believe the master plan would have had more input from the public if the financial impact was known at that time,” Burns said.

“Financial stability should not be a catalyst for fairness,” he added.