The Turlock Irrigation District Board of Directors passed the 2015 budget for the District in a 5-0 vote on the conditional basis that the issue of solar rates would be revisited in order to provide increased rate stability.
Following the Dec. 2 public rate hearing, the Board of Directors were able to vote on the budget with the discretion to take any action they saw fit.
Directors collectively favored the idea of moving forward with passing the budget, while reconvening early next year to address solar rate complexities.
TID staff noted the need for rate fairness and neutrality regarding the issue of solar.
Director Frantz proposed passing the budget on the basis that further analysis was conducted on the matter.
“The rate hearing has been held, and the rate proposal must stay, and stand as it was presented, and if we don’t pass the rate that was proposed at the rate hearing, there will be no opportunity for anyone to sign up for solar, because we’ll have no solar rate.”
Frantz pushed to find a revenue neutral way of allowing new solar customers to sign up and be recognized on an annual basis that does not lean on non-solar customers to support the solar accounting mechanism.
“Maybe it’s not possible but I’d like to see us try,” said Frantz.
Director Alamo proposed an arrangement that would offer stability while not hurting other customers in regard to solar rates; he proposed the possibility of publishing prices annually or every six months.
Additional public comments were taken.
Rich Borba of JKB Energy proposed pulling the solar proposal out.
“Basically solar is dead right now,” said Borba. “You’ve reached a cap, you’re not taking any new applications… what you’re proposing today, there might be one or two rare instances of somebody doing something, but it will not be for any economic reasons whatsoever.”
He noted the uncertainty of customer usage, production and over-generation rates, also noting possible financial and tax implications.
With the passing of the TID’s budget for 2015, there will be an approximately 2 percent rate increase for electric customers.