By SUNNY LOCKWOOD
Utica Power Authority finances commanded nearly an hour's discussion at Wednesday's meeting of Calaveras County Water District directors.
Director Charles Hebrard, who represents CCWD on the UPA board, made a motion that CCWD ask UPA to explore different methods raising money.
Both he and CCWD board president Jeff Davidson, who also sits on UPA's board, said they doubted that power generation from UPA's two small powerhouses can support the joint power authority's operations, given the low price of electricity.
Davidson said the UPA budget for this year was based on expected earnings of $33 a megawatt, but the market is paying less than that. "We have to see if there's something besides power to make that organization more solvent," Hebrard told the board. The board passed his motion unanimously.
Hebrard talked about the same issue at Tuesday night's UPA board meeting, saying that he didn't think power generation would support UPA operations.
In addition to Hebrard's motion, CCWD General Manager John Stewart has directed the district's Budget and Finance Manager James Deaton to gather information about UPA's financial condition and make recommendations to the board.
In a memo to the board, Deaton said he will among other things determine UPA's current financial status and its cash flow projections.
He said he will also review existing loan agreements for background should another loan be explored.
After the CCWD board meeting, Hebrard said UPA's financial situation has been of concern for a long time.
"The basic question is, can the power generation pay for the operations of UPA?" he said. "Because if it can't, they'll be coming back to members for assessments. Their financial standing will tell us (CCWD) where we're going to go from here. If UPA isn't a solvent business, prudency for our rate holders would be to find a way to move (away from membership)."
CCWD is one of the three members of the Utica Power Authority. The other two are the city Angels Camp and Union Public Utilities District, which supplies Murphys and nearby communities with water.