LMUD considers lowering ag rates
Oct. 2, 2012 — At their Sept. 25 meeting, Lassen Municipal Utility District (LMUD) board members passed a motion to hold a special meeting at 5:30 p.m., Oct. 23 to consider lowering the agriculture rates from 13 cents to 12 cents, which would make them on a commodity basis equal to residential rates.
Bill Stewart, general manager, proposed the motion and said, “The public hearing will give proponents and opponents the opportunity to speak on the subject.”
Although the board was not prepared to take action at the meeting, a discussion on the subject was held with representatives from the ranching and agricultural community offering input.
Daren Hagata said, “Presently I pump with diesel and I would really love to go electric.”
Todd Swickard, of Lassen County Cattlemen’s Association, said, “The highest cost, if we’re using wells, is the cost to run that well, be it diesel or electric, and California already has the highest irrigation rates in the nation. We’re in competition, when we sell our lifestock, with growers from all the other states in the nation. We don’t get paid the premium because we pay more for electricity, and California is a difficult place to do business. Because electricity is our highest cost, we’re extremely sensitive to price.
“We used to irrigate for pasture and we seldom do that anymore. If the rate were reduced, it would really help the ag industry in the area, and I think you’d see people do more irrigation, plant more crops and run their existing pumps for longer periods of time.”
Stewart said he believes LMUD will recoup the cost quickly. “I suspect there are many on diesel ag pumps who aren’t our customers who would switch to electric.”
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