Proposed Water Rate Increase In Missoula - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Proposed Water Rate Increase In Missoula

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Today the Montana Public Service Commission started the first of two days of public hearings, on a request to increase water rates and charges in Missoula.

The board listened to evidence from both sides, Mountain Water Company and the Montana Consumer Counsel, regarding the amount to increase water utility rates.

The attorney for Mountain Water Company, the City's main water supplier, emphasized the rate increase is needed because of a lack of operation and maintenance funds due to budgeting from 2011.

But the Consumer Counsel wants utility rates to be fair for payers.

"Many states recognize that you're setting rates for the future allowing utility to project the costs that will be in effect in the future. Montana will not do that," Mountain Water Company Attorney, John Alke said.

"The rate payers are interested in having a utility that's functional and doing a good job, that's charging reasonable rates. So our interest here is to ensure the costs they are asking the payers to bare are fair," Montana Consumer Attorney, Monica Tranel said.

The Mountain Water Company is asking for about a six percent flat rate increase for single family homes, metered rates and sprinkler water service.

A five percent increase for private fire protection rates and finally a 15 percent decrease for public fire protection rates.

The Montana Public Service Commission will listen to evidence and testimonies through tomorrow and make a decision in a few months.

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