Residents in the Treasure Valley could see an increase in their water bills pending a rate hike from water supplier Veolia.
Veolia, formerly known as Suez, says if the request is approved by the Public Utilities Commission in full, customers can expect their rates to go up by 24.1%. The average residential customer would pay $0.25 more per day and $7.59 more per month. The average commercial bill would increase by $0.93 per day and $27.92 per month. Increases for customers in the City of Eagle would vary as Veolia recently acquired the Eagle Water Company. You can see those rates here.
To justify the increase, the water utility says it’s spent $70 million in the past two years on customer improvements and listed the major ones in a news release:
- Eagle Water Company Acquisition: $10.5M acquisition that adds approximately 4,200 homes. Residents benefit from 24-hour monitoring of the system that enhances safety and service reliability
- Columbia Water Treatment Plant New Clearwell Tank: $3.5M construction serving Southeast Boise. Adds storage capacity and fire protection
- Taggart Well Facility Filtration Treatment System: $1.7M project that improved water quality in the Boise Bench
- Whistle Pig Storage Tank: $6.2M storage tank in Southwest Boise Improves water pressure, fire protection and capacity for customers
- Ice Pigging in East First Bench: a pipe cleaning technique that removes sediment and buildup from water mains, which can cause brown water complaints if left unaddressed
- Vactor Truck: helps remove debris that might be left in pipes after maintenance or repair
Regardless if the PUC approves Veolia’s rate request, the $70 million in improvements have already been made. Veolia says in some states this happens in the reverse order, where a company seeks approval first, then makes investments and implements a rate increase, but not in Idaho.
“If the PUC doesn’t grant the rate increase, customers still benefit from what we’ve already put into the system. We are responsible for providing drinking water every single day for over 105,000 customers; doing so requires proactive maintenance and investment in the pipes, pumps, pressure systems, tanks and plants that are part of our water system,” said Madeline Wyatt with Veolia North America.
It will take several months for the PUC to consider the request. If approved, Veolia says its rates are still below or competitive with all other public and private water utilities in the Treasure Valley.
The water utility last raised rates for customers in May of 2021, when the company was operating under the Suez name. The PUC approved a rate increase of 8.75% over two years, which was down from the company’s original request for a 22.3% rate hike in 2020.