Idaho Public Utilities Commission
Case No. BCS-W-09-02, Order No. 30970
January 7, 2010
Contact: Gene Fadness (208) 334-0339, 890-2712
New rates approved for Bar Circle ‘S’ customers
Rates for customers of the Bar Circle “S” Ranch Water Company are increasing from $15 per month to $27.43 for the first 7,500 gallons of use. The increase, approved by the Idaho Public Utilities Commission, was effective Jan. 1.
For use beyond 7,500 gallons, the rate will be $1.74 for each 1,000 gallons. The former rate was 95 cents for each thousand gallons consumed beyond 7,500 gallons.
Bar Circle “S” serves about 160 residential and commercial customers about 15 miles northwest of Coeur d’Alene. It sought an increase to $32.92 per month and $2.08 for every 1,000 gallons used above 7,500 gallons.
The company sought an annual revenue requirement of $80,335. The commission approved an annual revenue requirement of $55,734.
This is the first general rate increase for Bar Circle “S” since 1990. Since then the company has made several major improvements and expansions. Those include installation of a standby generator for the booster and fire pumps, several replacements of the 60-horsepower pumping unit in Well No. 2, improvements to the mainline in 2002, improvements to the Garwood reservoir in 2001 and well-site improvements. The company recently installed a 6-inch recording flow meter on the discharge side of the company’s booster pumps as required by the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality.
Commission staff conducted workshops and the commission conducted a public hearing in the case. Customers also submitted written comments.
Many comments contended that a rate increase the size requested by the company in these economic times is unreasonable. Some customers said the company should not have waited 18 years before requesting a rate increase. The fact the company waited many years to request an increase “does not change the evidence presented in this case,” the commission said.
State statutes require that regulated utilities be allowed to recover the prudently incurred expenses necessary to serve customers and earn a reasonable rate of return. When the commission denies recovery of expense to a utility it must be able to justify its reasons for disallowance based on the evidence presented in the case. All commission decisions can be appealed to the state Supreme Court.
Some customers expressed concern they might be subsidizing the addition of the Double T Estates development into the Bar Circle “S” system. “We assure customers that any costs that the company may have accrued that benefited Double T were removed from the calculation of the (Bar Circle “S”) revenue requirement,” the commission said. In compliance with an earlier commission order, the developer of Double T agreed to pay Bar Circle “S” for the cost of the construction of the water main extension and related system improvements to provide service to Double T.
A full text of the commission’s order, along with other documents related to this case, is available on the commission’s Web site at www.puc.idaho.gov. Click on “File Room” and then on “Water Cases” and scroll down to Case No. BCS-W-09-02.
Interested parties may petition the commission for reconsideration by no later than Jan. 20. Petitions for reconsideration must set forth specifically why the petitioner contends that the order is unreasonable, unlawful or erroneous. Petitions should include a statement of the nature and quantity of evidence the petitioner will offer if reconsideration is granted.
Petitions can be delivered to the commission at 472 W. Washington St. in Boise, mailed to P.O. Box 83720, Boise, ID, 83720-0074, or faxed to 208-334-3762.