Cannella Bill to Reduce Electricity Rates in Merced Signed by Governor

Thursday, October 3, 2013

State Senator Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres) today announced that SB 591, to provide significant savings to Merced Irrigation District (MID) ratepayers, has been signed into law by Governor Brown. SB 591, which is co-authored by Assemblymember Adam Gray (D-Merced), reduces the requirements of the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) for MID.

“I want to thank Governor Brown for providing this common sense change to MID’s requirements to acquire additional renewable energy. I also want to thank Assemblyman Gray for joining me in a bipartisan effort to find a solution benefiting consumers without compromising the state’s environmental goals,” said Senator Cannella. “Since joining the Senate, I have made it a priority to change RPS so that Merced Irrigation District ratepayers are not unfairly penalized and am proud to see it come to fruition.”

"SB 591 is an important bill for the ratepayers of the Merced Irrigation District. I am proud to have worked with Senator Cannella to ensure that our community can continue to take advantage of clean and affordable power," said Assemblymember Gray.

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.

The offset and financial benefit to MID’s ratepayers will depend on the amount of hydroelectricity produced at New Exchequer Hydroelectric Project in a given year. That amount is dependent on the amount of water stored in Lake McClure based on inflow to the reservoir and outflow requirements by state regulators.

“We would like to thank the Governor for his support on this important legislation,” said MID General Manager John Sweigard. “As has been said before, we are absolutely grateful for the diligent and steadfast work of Senator Cannella, Assemblyman Gray and their staff. This bill represents a significant step in the District’s ongoing efforts to minimize fees to our ratepayers as we, and other utilities, come into compliance with the state’s mandatory green-energy purchase requirements.”