Established in 1985, the Kirkwood Meadows Public Utility District (KMPUD) was formed as a public municipal corporation under the California Public Utilities Code after detachment from the El Dorado Irrigation District. The District is located in a remote area in the Sierra Nevada mountains within Alpine, Amador, and El Dorado Counties. KMPUD’s service area encompasses an area of approximately 1.875 square miles. Kirkwood, California is a resort-oriented community and includes the key facilities of Kirkwood Mountain Resort, one of the top ski mountains in North America.
The District is governed by a five-member Board of Directors elected by registered voters to serve staggered, four-year terms. Beginning with the November 2013 election, certain procedural and substantive changes occur: District elections are governed by Public Utilities Code section 15956 (b); elections are at-large but not by seat; candidates for directors at-large no longer designate a numbered office or seat; instead candidates who receive the greatest number of votes District-wide are elected to the Board. The Board appoints the District General Manager who is responsible for enforcement of District ordinances, regulations and master restrictions, as well as providing executive oversight and management of District Departments.
The community size and operation of the Ski Resort create a dynamic demand on utilities and services which differ substantially from summer to winter. Typical of a mountain resort community, peak activity and population occur during snow season. There are approximately 100 full-time residents living in Kirkwood but seasonal daily population maximums may reach 6,500 persons. The village core includes a combination of residential, lodging, and commercial uses serving residents and guests. The District services 866 active water connections, of which 635 are residential, 52 are commercial, and 179 are irrigation. KMPUD receives its water supply entirely from groundwater wells.
In 2011, the District acquired Mountain Utilities and with that acquisition became the provider of electric and propane services for the Kirkwood Valley. A new powerhouse was constructed to house three Caterpillar and five Volvo diesel generators. During the summer of 2013, the District began construction on a power line that connected the Kirkwood community to the regional electric grid. The construction project included approximately 25 miles of buried line extending from Kirkwood to the south side of Bear River Reservoir in Amador County. From this point, the power line is an overhead line within an existing overhead line corridor to Salt Springs Reservoir where it connects to existing PG&E lines. On November 1, 2014 the District shut down the diesel fired generators at the Powerhouse and connected to the national electric power grid.
The District receives revenue from multiple sources primarily consisting of rate charges from four utility enterprises and other services provided by the District, and property taxes. Charges for services principally include utility charges for water, wastewater, propane and electric with other sources of revenue contributing less than 10% of the total.