IID Governance Study

                             Alternative Governance & Electricity Services Study – Imperial Irrigation District

                                               Sponsor- California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB)  

The Riverside Local Agency Formation Commission (Riverside LAFCO) in conjunction with the Imperial Local Agency Formation Commission (Imperial LAFCO) has been tasked by the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) to prepare an “Alternative Governance Structures and Alternative Electricity Service Provision” study (Study) for provision of electricity services by the Imperial Irrigation District (IID) within its current service delivery area, including within Riverside County. The purpose of this Study is to provide for an analysis of options for future governance of the IID to include proportional representation of Riverside County electricity customers being served by IID, and options for future electrical service provision by alternative public agencies if IID desires to terminate the service to Riverside and/or Imperial Counties.  

IID entered the electric power business in 1936 in conjunction with the construction of the All-American Canal. IID anticipated that hydroelectric power generated from five falling water drops on the All-American Canal would enable them to set power rates considerably lower than the competition at that time as Congress had authorized construction of the All-American Canal to Coachella Valley. However, in negotiating repayment contracts with the United States, it was necessary that both the water and power rights of IID and the Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) be determined. According to the terms of a 1934 agreement between IID and CVWD, IID was given first rights to water delivered through the All-American Canal and a 99-year lease on any power rights Coachella had on the canal. As rental for power rights, IID agreed to pay CVWD a percentage of the net proceeds from its power system and CVWD in turn authorized IID to provide power service to the Coachella Valley.

Currently, IID’s district jurisdictional boundaries encompass all of Imperial County. IID also provides electrical service to parts of San Diego County, as well as outside its jurisdictional boundaries under the agreement, to the cities of Indio, Coachella, Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, La Quinta and a large area and several communities in unincorporated areas in the Coachella Valley, located in Riverside County. As of 2018, about 239,000, or 55%, of IID’s energy customers resided in Riverside County, outside the jurisdictional boundaries of IID, and the Riverside County share of electric customers has grown since.

Study Parameters
This work is to be completed in compliance with applicable California Government Code Sections, Public Utility Code Sections, any related Statutes, and within the confines of the following study parameters. The Study shall review the current conditions relative to the electricity service provision by the Imperial Irrigation District (IID) and address two requirements regarding the objectives of the Study:

“Options for providing continued publicly and/or independent system operator owned and managed electrical service in perpetuity to Imperial Irrigation District electrical serve area customers prior to, and after, the expiration of the 99-year lease for power rights made between the Imperial Irrigation District and the Coachella Valley Water District in 1934.”

“Options for alternative governance structures that would extend voting rights to registered voters who reside within the Imperial Irrigation District electrical service area to provide for proportional representation on a governing board that will have primary jurisdiction on all electrical service matters. Any findings shall isolate water rights and management as the sole responsibility of the current Imperial Irrigation District board of directors and shall not affect the water service area boundaries of the Imperial Irrigation District.”

Draft Alternative Governance and Electricity Services Study – Imperial Irrigation District, March 2023 

Response to Comments

Comments Received on Draft Study:

  1. Electric Ratepayers Alliance 8-3-2023
  2. Coachella Valley Water District 8-8-2023
  3. Coachella Valley Energy Commission 8-23-2023
  4. City of La Quinta 8-30-2023
  5. Imperial Irrigation District 8-30-2023
  6. County of Riverside 8-30-2023
  7. Leadership Counsel for Justice & Accountability 10-3-2023
  8. City of Indio 10-5-2023
  9. City of Coachella 10-12-2023 and Study Exhibit Comments
  10. Coachella Valley Energy Commission 10-13-2023
  11. Twenty Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians 10-13-2023
  12. Ed Luna 10-15-2023
  13. Brad Anderson 10-15-2023

Documents List:

Final Alternative Governance and Electricity Services Study - Imperial Irrigation District, November 30, 2023 and Appendices