The Imperial Irrigation District which services Imperial County and parts of San Diego and Riverside Counties is 11.3 million dollars in debt. Most of it accruing from delinquent accounts, just from this past year.
NBC Palm Springs spoke to IID officials who explain how this debt quickly grew and how people can get assistance.
This time last year the imperial irrigation district was just under $700,000 dollars in debt. drastically lower than the $11.3 million in debt reported in the first board meeting of 2021.
“What’s most concerning is out of the $11.3 million dollars, $7.4 million, or 66% of it is considered very aged accounts, over 90 days due,” explained Catherine Belen Valenzuela, Chief Financial Officer, Imperial Irrigation District.
“On January 5th the board reported that there was $11.3 million in delinquencies. and yesterday when they held their meeting in La Quinta, it’s down now to 10.3 million,” said Robert Schettler, Public Information Officer with Imperial Irrigation District.
But that slight decrease does not make a big impact, as there are still over 21,000 accounts that are past due.
“When you’re 90 days past due or more, that’s when we would normally shut off your electricity right, but we are not doing that because of the pandemic,” said Schettler.
And IID officials say you should not see an increase in rates from last year.
“You should not see in a rate increase from the imperial irrigation district, if you were getting 12 cents a kilowatt an hour for last year from iid, that’s what you should be getting now again,” added Schettler.
Moving forward, a proposal from the iid board is being submitted along with additional resources for customers.
“Community action partnership, they have money there that will help people with their utility bills, and so people in Riverside County need to contact community action partnership. what we want to do with everybody if they can pay their bill is develop some kind of flexible payment plan,” said Schettler.
“There was $25 billion dollars allocated by congress for rental relief and utility payments, we’ve been in contact with riverside county and also imperial to understand the process of distribution and allocation of those funds,” said Enrique Martinez, General Manager of Imperial Irrigation District.