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5% cheaper electricity flowing
Lathrop Irrigation undercuts PG&E out-of-the-gate
Lathrop Irrigation District is now up and running with River Islands Tech Academy its first customer. - photo by HIME ROMERO

LATHROP - River Islands Tech Academy is the first beneficiary of a South County movement to put power into the hands of the people.

Electricity started flowing this week through power lines to the River Islands Tech Academy that is gearing up for an August opening. The Banta School District is the first retail electrical customer of the Lathrop Irrigation District.

They are paying 5 percent below PG&E rates. And as homes and businesses are built, the rate differential between LID and PG&E will continue to widen until it reaches a cost for retail power that is 25 percent less than what the for-profit San Francisco-based utility charges.

“The first homes will have rates 5 percent lower (than PG&E’s),” noted River Islands Project Manager Susan Dell’Osso. “As we add homes and get more economies of scale, the rates will drop.”

River Islands formed the  LID to cover the 4,800-acre project that includes 11,000 homes. The LID - much like the South San Joaquin Irrigation District that River Islands tapped to help provide advice on setting up retail electricity services - is a public agency. It also has an elected board.

The SSJID is expected to receive a decision in the coming months from the San Joaquin Local Agency Formation Commission on whether it can enter into the retail business by buying the PG&E system serving Manteca, Ripon, and Escalon. An independent consultant that LAFCO hired from a recommended list provided by PG&E verified that SSJID is capable of running a retail power system and also has the finances in place to reduce rates by at least 15 percent.