Letter — Time for a rebate from utility | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Letter — Time for a rebate from utility


It was not exactly David versus Goliath, but it sure seemed that way. For the South Tahoe Public Utility District to obtain $69 million in settlement for MTBE pollution from nearly all of the nation’s major oil companies was certainly a remarkable feat.

I remember about four years ago when the sistrict sent out notices with billing statement about the lawsuit it intended to file. The notice stated the purpose of the lawsuit was to reimburse the district (read “ratepayers”) for expenses toward investigating, cleaning up, and preventing MTBE in our drinking water wells. Soon after, ratepayers received another notice announcing a water rate increase to cover these MTBE costs until the lawsuit was settled.

I, or one, never imagined that the district could obtain such a huge settlement from the various oil companies as it did. This achievement was no doubt due to tremendous work by district staff and the litigation attorneys.

Now the elected district board must make two important decisions: when to reduce water rates by the amount increased almost four years ago and how to distribute $9.6 million back to the ratepayers previously paid to combat MTBE. I believe the board should decide to reduce water rates as soon as possible since the increase is no longer needed. The second decision however will require more thought since a rebate would average over $600 for each of the 14,000 district ratepayers. In this matter, the board could decide to issue a rebate check to each ratepayer, reduce water rates by an additional amount for a specific period, or do a combination of both methods.

Considering that district ratepayers endured increased water rates for almost four years and experienced two summers of mandatory water restrictions, we are due our compensation.

Lisa Kelly

South Lake Tahoe

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