Cannella Bill to Reduce Electricity Rates in Merced Passes Legislature

Friday, August 30, 2013

SB 591, by State Senator Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres), to provide significant savings to Merced Irrigation District (MID) ratepayers today passed out of the legislature and is headed to Governor Brown. SB 591, which is co-authored by Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced), reduces the requirements of the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) for MID.

“Since joining the Senate, I have made it a priority to change RPS so that Merced Irrigation District ratepayers are not unfairly penalized,” said Senator Cannella. “By working in a bipartisan manner, Assemblyman Gray and I have been able to find a common sense solution that will benefit consumers without compromising the state’s environmental goals. I look forward to working with Governor Brown on having this bill signed into law.”

At times, MID has the ability to meet their full energy needs with their greenhouse gas-free energy from hydroelectric power. Though the power is generated from water flowing downstream and does not produce carbon emissions, it is ineligible to be counted towards the RPS requirements as currently defined as it produces more than 30 megawatts of power. In order to meet the established RPS requirements, MID will be required to purchase 33% of its energy needs from other sources at a much higher cost than what they would pay should their hydroelectric power be counted against their RPS requirement.

“We are absolutely grateful for the diligent and steadfast work of Senator Cannella, Assemblyman Gray and their staff,” said MID General Manager John Sweigard. “This marks an enormous step in MID’s ongoing efforts to help minimize fees to our ratepayers as we and other utilities come into compliance with the state’s mandatory green-energy purchase requirements.”