Now a court in San Francisco will allow the local water agency’s lawyers to look closer at what makes up the Los Angeles utility group’s rate to San Diego and see whether all line items are legal.
The wheeling rate is the cost MWD charges to allow for access of its pipeline to send Colorado River water to Southern California coastal areas, said IID attorney Mark Hattam. The case where San Diego sued MWD includes not only the rate to transfer the water, but also other rates that IID is not involved with.
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The IID has an interest in the case, smaller than San Diego and Los Angeles though, he said. It does partially deal with the water transfer pricing.
“If Met’s rates are allowed to stand, they can potentially affect long-term aspects of the water transfer, including pricing issues and the length of term of the transfer,” he said.
It would also have an effect if IID wanted to put in place another water transfer, he said. MWD has a stranglehold on any water transfer.
What the Los Angeles district did was add additional charges to its rate that San Diego County Water Authority pays, he said. The district thinks the rate is unlawful, and IID has interest in lawful wheeling rates.
“The rate in our view is exorbitant and unlawful,” he said.
The motions to allow discovery in the case was opposed by MWD.
“Unfortunately, engaging in discovery will be costly and time-consuming,” said Metropolitan interim General Counsel Marcia Scully.
The parties are set to return to court Feb. 17 to report on the progress made in the discovery process.
Staff Writer Elizabeth Varin can be reached at email@example.com or 760-337-3441.