Utility Rate Increases on the Horizon

Aug 16, 2011

BOISE, ID. – Wild swings in the stock market, gasoline above three dollars a gallon, higher food prices.  Next, Boise-area residents should brace themselves for higher utility rates. 

If you add them all up, it could mean thirteen dollars more a month for the average user in the Boise area.  Idaho Power accounts for at least seven dollars of that increase.  Gregory Said is Vice President of Regulatory Affairs. 

Gregory Said:  “We are very aware of the economic times that our customers face and so the company takes great efforts to manage costs to reasonable levels.” 

According to Said, the power utility has submitted a “bare bones” look at what it needs in the coming years.  United Water has a different problem.  Vice President and General Manager Greg Wyatt says customers are using less water. 

Greg Wyatt:  “That translates into less revenue.  And, of the $7.6 million increase request we made almost $3 million of it is related to reduced consumption.”

That means six dollars more a month.  Residents of Boise also face a hike in sewer fees.  If the council approves, rates for the average family would go up by fifty-seven cents a month. 

The one bright spot is Intermountain Gas.  It filed a request to lower its rates for customers.  Byron Defenbach is a company spokesman.

Byron Defenbach:  “At this time we don’t plan to file any increase of the amount that we collect in our prices to cover infrastructure costs.” 

Defenbach says the utility forecasts lower prices for natural gas.  That translates to a savings of two dollars a month.  Rate changes for natural gas and sewer fees could happen as early as October first if officials agree.  Electric and water price hikes could take place next year. 

Copyright 2011 Boise State Public Radio