Rates, Charges, Meter Capacity Fees

Rates, Charges, and Capacity Fees

Inactive Meter Charge

The Inactive  Meter Charge is new for VCMWD, but is common among San Diego County retail water agencies. In fact, 13 retail water agencies have such a monthly charge. The rationale for the charge is that while a customer may not be actively using the meter, the District is still operating, maintaining and upgrading the water system to keep it in readiness to serve the inactive meter when service is needed. Without these charges, in fact the customers with active meters are subsidizing those with the inactive meters that are not contributing to the District’s costs.

Customers with inactive meters were notified in November, 2021 as part of our Prop 218 Rate Notification process, where each and every property owner is notified about our intended rate increases to be effective the following February. That notice covered the Inactive Meter Charge. People with inactive meters were then specifically noticed again in March of 2022. Finally, all District meetings are public, but because of COVID-19 safety concerns, there is no public access. Meetings can be monitored on YouTube, and public comment can be made in writing or by making arrangements to call in to the meeting for verbal comments. Please contact our finance department at 760-735-4502 for assistance. 

Inactive Meter Charge Notification Letter (PDF)

Pumping Charges

Valley Center is marked by many rolling hills, steep canyons and beautiful valleys. While this varying topography lends itself well to community character and aesthetics, it also presents many challenges when it comes to delivering water. Fortunately, the San Diego County Water Authority had the good wisdom to place its aqueduct system either through or very near the Valley Center Municipal Water District service area. Unfortunately, these facilities deliver water at a gravity gradient or pressure which requires the District to lift water at least once to more than 80% of its customers. There are 10 pump zones in all, lifting 30,000 to 40,000 acre feet of water annually from the lowest elevation of 970 feet above sea level to over 2330 ft. above sea level.

Day in day out, the District accomplishes this task with almost 100 electric and natural gas powered pumps representing nearly 20,000 connected horsepower at 26 pumping stations located throughout its 100 square mile service area.

As result, the Valley Center Municipal Water District is one of San Diego Gas and Electric's largest customers. Historically, the District has spent in excess of $2.0 million annually on purchasing both electricity and natural gas. Prior to deregulation, the District enjoyed relatively low energy costs because of maintaining a very active pump efficiency testing and maintenance program, as well as operating around the peak electrical and natural gas demand periods. While both of these efforts continue, the cost impacts of electricity deregulation and the associated impact on natural gas prices have dwarfed any savings from these programs.

The pumping charge includes only those costs incurred in pumping the water up hill to you and varies based on how high it must be pumped.