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SSJID starts retail power work in Lathrop
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Call it a practice run.

The South San Joaquin Irrigation District board on Tuesday will set compensation rates for assisting Lathrop Irrigation District run its retail electrical system.

Lathrop Irrigation District serves the planned 11,000-home River Islands at Lathrop community. There has been only one customer so far – River Islands Tech Academy. But in the coming months hundreds of homes will be built.

The SSJID is handling meter reading, billing, and customer service under terms of a mutual assistance agreement entered into back in 2007.

The SSJID will be paid a fixed monthly rate of $100 plus $35 per meter per month for the first 100 meters and $10 per meter after that.

The SSJID’s request to do what Lathrop Irrigation District has done which is carve out a retail service area within existing PG&E territory has been pending before the San Joaquin Local Area Formation Commission now for 54 months. According to LAFCo staff, the delay is due to the agency being in unfamiliar territory. Yet back in 2007 the SSJID assisted LID with its LAFCo proposal that took less than four months to process.

SSJID General Manager Jeff Shields has indicated he expects a decision from LAFCo in the coming months on their application to lower power costs in Manteca, Escalon, and Ripon at least 15 percent under what PG&E charges.

Electricity started flowing in April 2013 through power lines to the River Islands Tech Academy.

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.

River Islands formed the LID to serve the 4,800-acre project that includes 11,000 homes. The LID, just like the SSJID, is a public agency. It also has an elected board.

The SSJID board meets at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the district office, 11011 E. Highway 120.