Case No. TGW-W-04-01, Order No. 29974

February 9, 2006

Contact: Gene Fadness (208) 334-0339

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United Water assumes Terra Grande territory


The Idaho Public Utilities Commission has approved a stipulated agreement that allows United Water Idaho Inc., to take over operation of the Terra Grande water system, which serves about 117 households in southwest Boise.


The commission approved the transfer at no cost to United Water because of the number of improvements United Water will make to the system including installation of individual meters, replacement of aging mainlines and the installation of fire hydrants. Small water-users should notice a slight decrease to their bi-monthly bills as a result of the transfer, with no change to average users and a slight increase to larger users to reflect their actual consumption.


In February 2004, United Water and Terra Grande filed a joint application asking the commission to approve the sale of the company to United Water for $47,000. However, commission staff recommended United Water be allowed to take over the system for no price because of the amount of capital United Water would need to invest after the purchase. At that time, Terra Grande withdrew its offer.


In January of 2005, the Department of Environmental Quality notified Terra Grande that three of its wells were contaminated with Trichloroethylene (TCE), a hazardous chemical. As a result, there was an emergency interconnection between Terra Grande’s distribution system and United Water’s water supply. In August 2005, 61 Terra Grande customers submitted a petition to the commission asking that Terra Grande be required to install individual water meters.


Subsequently, parties from commission staff, Terra Grande and United Water entered into discussions whereby all parties agreed it is in the public interest to transfer Terra Grande’s system to United Water.


“The contaminated water supply system, the antiquated distribution network and the lack of individual meters combined with Terra Grande’s lack of financial ability to resolve these problems in a timely manner results in substandard service to Terra Grande customers,” the commission said. “United Water has the ability to make immediate system improvements at a cost that is reasonable.”


Terra Grande’s territory included an area south of Overland Road, east of Milwaukee Street and north of Targee Street.