Case No. FLS-W-12-01, Order No. 32487
April 3, 2012
Contact: Gene Fadness (208) 334-0339, 890-2712
Workshop is April 10 in Ammon for Falls Water rate case
Staff from the Idaho Public Utilities Commission will conduct a workshop at the Ammon City Hall Tuesday night, April 10, for customers of Falls Water Company. The company is asking the commission to approve an average 26.5 percent rate increase, according to the company’s calculations.
The company seeks to increase its annual revenue by about $300,000, 26.5 percent above current revenues, but the impact on customers could be greater. According to commission staff calculations, the average Falls Water customer uses 20,000 gallons per month and more than 90 percent of customers are on a ¾-inch meter. The average monthly bill of that customer is now $20.98 per month and would increase to $29.23, or about a 39.3 percent increase if the company’s request were granted in full.
Commission staff is in the midst of a six-month review of Falls Water’s application, with a decision expected in late August. The purpose of the workshop is to provide an overview of the company’s proposal and an opportunity for customers to ask questions of commission staff. Representatives of the company may also be available.
The workshop will begin at 7 p.m. in the Ammon City Council chambers at 2135 S. Ammon Road. A public hearing is also scheduled for July 10 at 7 p.m. at the same location. At the hearing, the three commissioners who will decide the case will take oral testimony from customers.
Falls Water claims the increase is needed to pay for new touch-read meters which replaced manually-read meters. Radio transmitter units have been installed on all meters as well. The company says it has also doubled its rented office and warehouse space and added an on-line billing service for customers.
Falls Water also seeks commission authority to read meters year-round. The company currently reads single-family residential meters from April through October, but not during the winter due to access issues. Falls Water claims year-round meter reading benefits customers and conserves water because leaks will be detected sooner.
The commission cannot, by state law, arbitrarily refuse to consider utility rate increase requests without first considering the evidence presented by the utility, intervening parties and customers. The burden of proof is on the utility to justify the expenses it seeks to recover as 1) necessary to serve customers and 2) prudently incurred. The commission may accept, reject or modify the company’s request. All commission decisions can be appealed to the state Supreme Court by the utility or customers.
For those who do not want to provide oral testimony at the public hearing on July 10, there is an opportunity to provide written comment at any time through July 13. Comments are accepted via e-mail by accessing the commission’s Website at www.puc.idaho.gov and clicking on "Comments & Questions About a Case." Fill in the case number (FLS-W-12-01) and enter your comments. Comments can also be mailed to P.O. Box 83720, Boise, ID 83720-0074 or faxed to (208) 334-3762.
Customers can track the case on the commission’s Web site where the company’s application is posted. As the case progresses, comments from commission staff, customer comments and company rebuttal will be added. Click on the water icon, then on “Open Water Cases,” and scroll down to Case No. FLS-W-12-01.