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PUC, UWI Far From Compromise


It's not necessary to drain the kids' college fund for the sake of your lawn just yet. The Idaho Public Utilities Commission has decided to suspend for another 60 days its final decision on United Water of Idaho's request for a 21.46 rate increase.

The company, which serves about 75,400 customers in Ada and Canyon counties, filed its application for a rate increase last November, citing both increases in operating costs and in UWI's increased investment in water facilities. At the time, UWI Vice President Greg Wyatt projected that the increase would cost residential customers approximately $6 more per month than before, resulting in about $6.7 million in extra revenue for the company.

On April 6 of this year, the PUC staff recommended a much smaller increase-1.8 percent, or about 50 cents per month (or, from UWI's perspective, $570,837 in revenue).

This number, according to testimony given to the PUC by Wyatt, was "seriously flawed and grossly insufficient." Since then, both sides have revised their recommendations, but they still remain far apart-UWI requesting a 17.5 percent increase, with the PUC staff conceding only 4.5 percent. Originally, the commission's decision was supposed to have been issued by no later than June 29; now, they say they'll cover the significant ground by Aug. 29.