City Government

PUC Suggests Boise Cut Water Fee


In an under-reported action by the Idaho Public Utilities Commission on October 7th 2015, the PUC will allow responsibility for maintenance and replacement of Boise fire hydrants to shift from the City to United Water.

In their ruling the PUC expressed concern that the shift could result in higher water rates for Boise customers and the PUC suggested that since the City of Boise receives a 3% United Water Franchise Fee, with revenue of about $1M, “more than two and one half times the City’s $450,000 hydrant maintenance and replacement budget” that perhaps the City needs to reduce their franchise fee to offset the increased water costs to maintain equity with customers.

The City apparently responded how inappropriate it was for the PUC to suggest the City reduce its franchise fee. So the City currently spends $450,000 per year for this service, and United Water will spend $765,000 per year to perform this same service. Will the City be reducing the franchise fee citizens pay since the City is no longer responsible for hydrant maintenance?

The City needs to do the right thing, and reduce the franchise fee to correspond with the reduced responsibilities and cost transfer. Otherwise citizens of Boise are paying twice. You can read the PUC decision HERE.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Boise over charging? I can’t believe it!

    Sidebar: I’d like to have someone in Boise city services or PUC investigate if there is any correlation of broken residential water lines and United Water doing waterline flushing or flow testing.

    Once upon a time United Water was rapidly opening and closing some large valves in a large water main some distance from my home as part of a test for a new school. I happened to be in the crawlspace at the time. The water hammer from their valve testing was making the waterlines under my floor jump from the shock and over pressure. I spoke to a United Water engineer and he said, “yep that was us doing a test”.

    I’ve also noticed the incidence of broken residential water lines seems to occur in clusters. I have no facts, just curious observations. Should be easy to correlate with the big picture in hand.

  2. Brian Vermilion
    Feb 6, 2016, 5:11 am

    Of course they won’t reduce the fees. Bieter has fooled Boiseans once again and is now comfortably snuggled in for another term. Hence there is no such thing as a downward adjustment in taxes. Once in place, bureaucrats become dependent upon the latest publicly funded teat.

  3. So why would United Water be the one to pay for fire hydrants ?

    That’s like saying United water has to pay for the line from the meter up to my faucet… don’t worry I own the faucet, and the key to turn it on.

    And how about the other cities?

    Sounds like another foul on the city.

  4. Yossarian_22
    Feb 6, 2016, 10:43 am

    Here is an example where the government can provide a service cheaper than another monopoly, hence Suez Corporation. The difference here is staggering. Exactly what more will we get from Suez (United) for $315K more? Why is Boise giving this service up? And yes, if we have no other choice but to accept this handoff of services to Suez, then we should receive a compensation from Boise City by dropping the fee.

  5. Money aside, is United Water required to 100% level of service and is that required to backed by a performance bond? What happens if a hydrant is out of service due to a private companies goals being different than the public need?

  6. $315,000 added to the profit margin of a French company, to be siphoned off from the Boise economy and never seen again, while Team Dave has more money for golden shovels.

  7. Rod in SE Boise
    Feb 10, 2016, 8:33 pm

    So, it cost the City of Boise less to maintain the hydrants than it will cost the water company. Imagine that. Privitization strikes again.

    The headline at the beginning of this article is wildly misleading:

    “PUC Suggests Boise Cut Water Fee”

    Before I read the article I thought the IPUC was doing something for the consumer for a change. LOL, silly me.

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