Idaho Public Utilities Commission

Case No. UWI-W-09-01, Order No. 30977

January 11, 2010

Contact: Gene Fadness (208) 334-0339, 890-2712

Website: www.puc.idaho.gov

 

Workshop on United Water proposal is Jan. 19

 

Staff from the Idaho Public Utilities Commission will conduct a public workshop on Tuesday night, Jan. 19, in Boise regarding United Water Idaho’s proposal to increase its rates by about 15.2 percent.

 

Last September, United Water filed an application with the commission to increase its annual revenue by about $5.6 million. If the requested increase were approved in its entirety, an average residential bill would increase by about $4.37 more per month.

 

Since the application was filed, commission staff has been conducting an extensive audit and review of United Water’s application. During the workshop, commission staff will provide an overview of the company’s application, explain the commission process and take questions from the public. Representatives of the company may also be present to answer questions.

 

The workshop will begin at 7 p.m., Jan. 19, in the commission hearing room at 472 W. Washington St.

 

Boise-based United Water Idaho, with about 83,900 customers, has been providing water service in Boise and the surrounding area for more than 100 years. The last increase approved for the company was in August 2006.

 

The company claims the 2010 rate 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.

 

The commission has been taking comments on United Water’s application and will continue to do so through at least March 4, when a technical hearing is scheduled.

 

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.