Idaho Public Utilities Commission
Case No. UWI-W-09-01, Order No. 30901
September 17, 2009
Contact: Gene Fadness (208) 334-0339, 890-2712
Commission begins process of reviewing United Water request
The Idaho Public Utilities Commission is beginning an up to six-month process to review United Water Idaho’s application for a rate increase.
The Boise-based company, which serves 83,900 customers in Ada County, applied earlier this month for the increase. Rates were last adjusted in August 2006. If the increase were approved in its entirety, an average residential customer would pay about $4.37 more per month, or about 15.2 percent.
United Water claims the increase is warranted because it has made numerous major capital investments since its 2006 rate case, including $2 million in treatment facilities, more than $12 million replacing aging infrastructure, $1.4 million in booster station improvements and more than $700,000 in auxiliary power generators at various sites. To recover its investment, the company claims it will need to increase its annual revenue by $5.6 million.
State statutes require that regulated utilities be allowed to recover their prudently incurred costs of doing business plus a reasonable rate of return. The company’s application states that the proposed changes in rates would produce a rate of return of 8.49 percent. The rate of return approved by the commission must not be unreasonably high for customers, but high enough to attract investors for major capital projects and upgrades. When the commission denies cost recovery to a utility it must be able to legally demonstrate why the denied costs were not prudently incurred or needed to serve customers. Utilities, as well as other parties in the case, can appeal commission decisions to the state Supreme Court.
Interested parties can petition the commissioner to be “intervenors” in the case for the purpose of presenting testimony, cross-examining witnesses and participating in settlement discussions. The deadline to file petitions to intervene is Oct. 8. People desiring to present their views without parties’ rights of participation are not required to intervene and may file written comments and participate in upcoming workshops and hearings. The dates for public workshops and/or hearings will be announced later.
Comments are accepted via e-mail by accessing the commission’s homepage at www.puc.idaho.gov and clicking on "Comments & Questions." Fill in the case number (UWI-W-09-01) and enter your comments. Comments can also be mailed to P.O. Box 83720, Boise, ID 83720-0074 or faxed to (208) 334-3762.
Those interested can track the progress of the case from the commission’s Web site. Click on the water icon, then on “Open Water Cases,” and scroll down to the above case number.