Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

Rainbow MWD places $1.3M in reserves

The San Diego County Water Authority was successful in its rate lawsuit against the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and the SDCWA provided a check to the Rainbow Municipal Water District for Rainbow’s share of the settlement. On March 23, the Rainbow board voted 5-0 to place the money into the district’s reserves rather than to attempt to provide refunds to each individual ratepayer.

“I believe that it’s not worth the time and money to return the money to potential and past ratepayers,” board member Pam Moss said.

The lawsuit involved the rate MWD was charging the CWA to transport water obtained from Imperial County in the Quantification Settlement Agreement. MWD paid the CWA $44 million, and the CWA calculated each member agency’s share based on the agency’s percentage of total municipal and industrial purchases during calendar year 2011 and calendar year 2012.

The Rainbow share was $1,343,382.03. Rainbow received the payment March 9.

Providing cash rebates to customers would require determining each customer’s share of the payments.

“We’d have to try to go back and figure out exactly who used how much water,” Rainbow general manager Tom Kennedy said. “That’s a challenge because it was a long time ago. It’s theoretically possible. Administratively it would be a ridiculous project.”

The billing system Rainbow used at that time has since been replaced, and while paper records may be in long-term storage, staff would have needed to find the records among thousands of pages of “green bar” printouts. Refunding the rebate to the customers who paid those bills would also require locating the current addresses of customers who no longer live in the Rainbow service area.

The money may be applied to Rainbow's capital fund or to the rate stabilization fund.

“That will be up to the board,” Kennedy said.

The decision will likely be made during the adoption of the fiscal year 2021-2022 budget.

“I think it would be a good idea to determine where it is most needed,” Moss said.

Joe Naiman can be reached by email at [email protected].

Author Bio

Joe Naiman, Writer

Joe Naiman has been writing for the Village News since 2001


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