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Hydroelectric Water Tariff

Bigelow bill (AB 1979) bolsters local power facility, protects ratepayers

This week, legislation by Assemblyman Frank Bigelow that will help a local utility continue providing affordable water and power to Calaveras County was signed into law by Governor Brown. The legislation allows Utica Water and Power Authority to utilize California’s renewable feed-in tariff, which ensures a reliable funding source for its hydroelectric operations.

“This is a major victory for the people of Calaveras County who will now have continued access to affordable water and power. For our area that has suffered through the ongoing drought and dangerous wild fires, this bill provides much needed reliability and security,” said Bigelow. “As an added bonus, this legislation also advances the state’s goal of incentivizing small renewable energy suppliers.”

UWPA delivers water to the communities using revenues generated from its hydroelectric energy production. AB 1979 allows hydroelectric generating facilities like UWPA’s to participate in California’s renewable feed-in tariff program so long as they deliver no more than 3 MW of electricity to the grid.

“AB 1979 provides much needed support to our drought-stricken community by making it possible for UWPA to continue its pursuit of efforts to maximize revenue from our Murphys Powerhouse,” said Angels Camp City Councilman and UWPA Board President, Bert Sobon. “We still have a lot of work to do to complete this process, but AB 1979 was a crucial step.  Assemblyman Bigelow and his staff immediately recognized the importance of protecting the water supply provided by UWPA to Murphys and Angels Camp, which is UWPA’s primary responsibility, and they really came through for us.  UWPA is very grateful for their efforts.”

Lifelong rancher Frank Bigelow proudly represents the 5th Assembly District, which encompasses Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Madera, Mariposa, Mono, Placer, and Tuolumne counties and includes Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park.