The Modesto Irrigation District might need to raise electricity rates at least 3 percent next year, officials said Tuesday.
Also Tuesday, the Turlock Irrigation District board approved a budget for 2010 that calls for no power rate hikes.
The MID board agreed to hold a budget workshop next Tuesday and to possibly vote at a later date on the rates.
A 3 percent increase would raise the typical home's average monthly bill from about $130 to $134. Without an increase, the MID would have to tap its reserves to cover costs, said Jimi Netniss, budget and rates administrator for the district. That could result in a reduced bond rating and higher interest on the bonds the MID sells to finance capital projects.
Customers got a 7 percent rate increase in January. The board reduced a June hike and canceled one planned for September, after a drop in the cost of natural gas, the main fuel for power generation. Directors also said they wanted to help residents deal with the recession.
TID officials also cited the natural gas decline in deciding that a 2010 power rate hike was not needed. Rates went up in February, 13 percent for homes and 12 percent to 20 percent for businesses. The average monthly bill for a typical home is $115 under the winter rate schedule and $122 in summer.
The TID's irrigation charges will rise next year as part of a two-step increase approved in late 2008.
The MID will set its 2010 water rates in the spring.
Also Tuesday, the TID board postponed a vote on power transmission lines that would run from Crows Landing Road, southwest of Ceres, to Geer Road near Hughson.
After residents along the route raised concerns, the board directed staff to look at possible alternatives, such as canal banks, spokesman Steve Boyd said.
The MID budget workshop will be at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the district office, 1231 11th St., Modesto.
Bee staff writer John Holland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2385.