Court rules Modesto Irrigation District customers overcharged

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A judge ruled in favor of some Modesto Irrigation District customers who claimed they were overcharged to subsidize irrigation for farmers.

A Stanislaus Superior Court decision found that the water was subsidized by an illegal tax on electric customers. How many taxpayers have been overcharged and what the remedy will be remains to be determined.

“We continue to believe that our rates adequately cover the cost of the services we provide,” MID said in a written statement.

The case is only half decided and it is unclear whether customers could receive a refund or lower rates, said attorney Prescott Littlefield, representing the plaintiffs.

“It’s really for the second phase of the trial and it’s an issue that we will explore as the litigation continues from now on,” he said.

MID said its rates are among the lowest in the state and a comparison shows its rates are higher than SMUD but nearly half the cost of PG&E.

The MID provides drinking water to Modesto and electricity to 128,000 customers. About 3,000 farmers receive irrigation water for 58,000 acres.


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