By MIKE MORRIS
Not only did Calaveras County Water District board members announce plans to withdraw from the Utica Power Authority last night, they stalled two months of legal negotiations between UPA and Northern California Power Agency officials.
NCPA buys water from UPA for power generation when it has surplus supplies.
A pending contract revision would allow UPA to better estimate its annual water supplies. But, because NCPA has insisted that the revisions be retroactive to 2002, it would also require UPA to make make a $12,445 refund.
But CCWD, which is withdrawing from its UPA partnership with the city of Angels Camp and the Union Public Utilities District in Murphys, got cold feet.
Alan Turner, CCWD assistant general manager and attorney, said he was "feeling a little bit paranoid" about the implications the contract will have on CCWD since it's aiming to leave UPA.
Don Dame, assistant general manager for NCPA's power management, assured Turner the new contract has nothing to do with CCWD's pending departure from the power agency.
But Dame also said it was "entirely reasonable" for CCWD to spend extra time reviewing the revised contract.
The UPA majority wants the agency's power contract with NCPA extended from April 1 to May 1 so the agency can better gauge whether a year will be wet or dry and, thus, how much water can be sold for power.
Major rainfall last April spurred the request.
"Just those 30 days made a big difference," said UPA Board Member Larry Thompson.
UPA determines how much water to sell for power depending on the wet or dry forecast made monthly by the California Department of Water Resources. May is the last month of the year the department forecasts.
CCWD board members said they needed more time to review the revised contract so they asked for an extension.
Both the council and UPUD representatives voted unanimously voted for the contract revisions at last night's meeting.