Idaho Public Utilities Commission

Case No. FLS-W-12-01, Order No. 32467

February 27, 2012

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

Website: www.puc.idaho.gov

 

Commission begins processing Falls Water rate case

 

An eastern Idaho water company is asking the Idaho Public Utilities Commission to approve an average 26.8 percent rate increase.  Falls Water serves about 3,900 residential and commercial customers north of Ammon and northeast of Idaho Falls. 

 

The commission will take about six months to review the application, with a decision expected in late August. 

 

The six-month suspension will allow time for the commission’s staff of auditors, engineers and attorneys to thoroughly review the Falls Water application.   The commission has set an intervention deadline of March 7 for parties seeking “intervenor” status.  Parties, typically representing large customers or groups of customers, intervene to present evidence, cross-examine witnesses, participate in settlement conferences and make and argue motions.   As the case develops, members of the general public, who do not have intervenor status, will have the opportunity to submit written comments for the case record, participate in public workshops and testify at hearings to be scheduled later. 

 

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, intervenors or 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.  These expenses and other upgrades require an addition of nearly $300,000 to Falls Water’s annual revenue, the company claims. 

 

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.  

 

 

Further, customers would be able to pay for any water use above the minimum amount allowed as the overage are incurred rather than being billed in April for excess water that accrued in October, the last time the meter would have been read. 

 

The table below shows the current rate for each meter size and the company’s proposed rate.  Customers can track the case on the commission’s Web site where the company’s application is posted.  As the case progresses, testimony from commission staff and intervenors will be added. The Web site is www.puc.idaho.gov. Click on the water icon, then on “Open Water Cases,” and scroll down to Case No. FLS-W-12-01. 

 

Meter size

Current rate

Proposed rate

Percent increase

¾” or smaller

$16.20 up to 12,000 gallons

$19.18 up to 5,000 gallons

19.1

1 inch

$22.54 up to 17,000 gallons

$26.85 up to 7,000 gallons

19.2

1 ½”

$28.98 up to 22,000 gallons

$34.52 up to 9,000 gallons

19.1

2 inches

$37.03 up to 28,000 gallons

$44.11 up to 12,000 gallons

19.1

4 inches

$66.01 up to 49,000 gallons

$78.64 up to 20,000 gallons

19.2

Commodity

Rate per

1,000

gallons

61.1 cents for every 1,000 gallons above upper limit for each meter size.

 

67 cents for every 1,000

gallons above upper limit for each meter size.

 

 

 

9.7

 

 

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