As the clock struck midnight on January 1, Placer County Water Agency’s (PCWA) Middle Fork Project (MFP) marked a momentous occasion 55 years in the making. As of New Year’s Day, PCWA completely controls power generation of the hydroelectric facility. The exciting news of a smooth transition was shared with the PCWA Board of Directors at its January 18 meeting.
“When Placer County residents voted in 1961 to finance construction of the Middle Fork Project, PCWA signed a 50-year power sale agreement with Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) which gave them control of power generation,” General Manager Einar Maisch said. “Under that agreement, PG&E received all of the power generated, but paid all of the project operating costs and paid off the construction debt.”
When the 50-year agreement expired in 2013, PCWA entered into new a 5-year power sale agreement with PG&E. Under this new agreement responsibilities for control of power generation were split between PCWA and PG&E, where PCWA made the economic decisions about when to generate, and PG&E used their control room at Drum Powerhouse to put those decisions into effect.
On January 1, that 5-year agreement ended, and with it PG&E’s involvement in PCWA’s MFP. Additionally, control room responsibilities were transferred to the Northern California Power Agency (NCPA) in Roseville, under an agreement signed in 2016. “We appreciate the excellent working relationship we have had with PG&E for the past 55 years, and look forward to a productive relationship with NCPA moving forward,” Mr. Maisch added.
“With the transition of dispatch center responsibilities to NCPA, and PCWA’s assumption of Scheduling Coordinator for the MFP, all our long-term obligations are fulfilled, and the vision of PCWA’s forefathers for the MFP has come full circle,” Board Chairman Joshua Alpine said.