Idaho Public Utilities Commission
Case No. UWI-W-11-02, Notice of Public Workshop
November 9, 2011
Contact: Gene Fadness (208) 334-0339, 890-2712
Workshop scheduled for United Water Idaho customers
Staff from the Idaho Public Utilities Commission will conduct a workshop in Boise on Monday, Nov. 28 at 7 p.m. regarding United Water Idaho’s request for rate increase. The workshop will be in the commission hearing room at 472 W. Washington St.
The purpose of the workshop is to dispense information regarding the company’s application and to obtain public input before staff files its comments. A technical hearing is tentatively scheduled for Feb. 1-2 and a public hearing will also be held near that date.
If United Water’s request is approved in full, the average residential bill would increase by $5.82 per month or about 20 percent. United Water Idaho serves about 84,000 customers in Boise and the surrounding area.
United Water seeks to increase its annual revenue by $7.6 million. The company seeks authorization to earn up to an 8.43 percent overall rate of return. It claims its current rate structure results in a 5.64 percent rate of return.
United Water claims it has invested more than $20 million in its system since its last rate case. Improvements include a new supply treatment facility, a 600,000-gallon water storage tank, 1.7 miles of new 24-inch water main and replaced water mains, service lines and meters. The company is also investing $5.5 million in a new customer information system. Water consumption has declined significantly, resulting in lower revenues, United Water states. The reduction in annual revenue makes up roughly 38 percent of the company’s overall rate request.
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.
Customers can track the case on the commission’s Website where the company’s application, including testimony from company officials and customer comments are 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. UWI-W-11-02.