Idaho Public Utilities Commission

Case No. UWI-W-09-01, Order No. 30998

February 10, 2010

Contact: Gene Fadness (208) 334-0339, 473-8791

Website: www.puc.idaho.gov

 

Settlement proposed in United Water rate case

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission is taking comments and will hold a public hearing regarding a proposed settlement to the United Water Idaho rate case that would increase rates by 9.9 percent this year and 1.7 percent next year. When United Water filed the rate case last September it requested a 15.2 percent rate increase and later updated those numbers to reflect a 16.6 percent increase.

The settlement, if approved the commission, would increase average residential rates by about $2.83 per month.

A hearing to take customer testimony regarding the proposed settlement is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 22, at 7 p.m. in the commission hearing room at 472 W. Washington St. in Boise. Written comment will also be accepted through Feb. 22. United Water is asking that new rates become effective March 1.

The settlement is the result of negotiations between United Water, commission staff and representatives of the Community Action Partnership Association of Idaho (CAPAI), which represents low-income customers.

The settlement proposes an increase to United Water’s annual revenue of $3.6 million this year and an additional $640,000 on Feb. 1, 2011. United Water sought an annual revenue increase of $6.14 million. United Water has invested more than $13 million in capital improvements since rates were last established in August, 2006.

As part of the settlement, United Water agrees not to file another rate increase request until after June 1, 2011.

The settlement also allows United Water to implement a budget billing, or level pay, plan for customers who choose to be billed monthly at roughly the same amount each month. Currently, customers are billed every two months, but many have asked that the commission allow the company to switch to monthly billing. The settlement allows the company to implement monthly budget billing at the same it encourages customers to agree to electronic billing, which would significantly reduce administrative costs related to the conversion to budget billing. However, electronic billing is not required to qualify for the budget billing plan.

United Water also agreed to an informal workshop to discuss potential changes to the company’s program targeted at low-income customers and other issues affecting low-income customers. The company also agrees to discuss additional efforts to improve participation in water conservation programs.

Finally, the settlement allows United Water to defer over three years expenses related to annual power cost increases as a result of Idaho Power’s Power Cost Adjustment process (PCA). The company can also defer over 20 years expenses incurred for the rehabilitation of the tanks at the Ustick, Crestline and Steelhead water storage reservoirs.

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.

 

A full text of the full settlement stipulation, 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 “Open Water Cases” and scroll down to the above case number.