Community members are upset that Tuolumne Utilities District may sell some of the water that customers have conserved this year back to Pacific Gas and Electric Co. in the midst of an historic drought.
Sonora musician Sean Brennan summed up the frustration and confusion through song during the public comment period at the beginning of Tuesday’s TUD Board of Directors meeting, when he performed a new tune he wrote called “The Talking Water Rights Blues.”
“We cut our use by half just to even the score, and in return they want to charge us more,” he sang while strumming an acoustic guitar. “Or else, though they got that water for free, they wanna sell it on back to PG&E.”
TUD is facing a possible loss of about $1 million in revenue from reduced water sales through January 2015 because of mandatory water restrictions placed on customers earlier this year.
Customers were asked to slash their usage by 50 percent from Jan. 28 to July 22, when the board rescinded the 50 percent request but kept in place a mandatory reduction of 25 percent.
According to meeting documents released Friday, one of the ways to cover the revenue shortfall could be to ask customers for a $3 to $4 monthly surcharge.
However, TUD General Manager Tom Scesa clarified at the meeting that the district is looking at other options to avoid burdening ratepayers. He said the district doesn’t plan to charge any additional fees, which would require a lengthy public hearing and protest process.
For the complete story, see the Aug. 13 edition of The Union Democrat.