Information about donation to City of Missoula

The City of Missoula (“City”) and Phantom Hills Water Company, Inc. (“Phantom”) have reached an agreement that will benefit the Ranch Club Community. Under the terms of the agreement, the assets of Phantom will be donated at no cost to the City and the City will assume the obligations of furnishing water to the customers of Phantom.

You will benefit as the City’s rates for water service are substantially less than Phantom’s current rates, and the City has no initial investment to recoup. The City will benefit by gaining an additional 180 or so customers and Phantom through the donation will exit a non-core business.

The transfer of the water system is scheduled to be effective July 1, 2019, pending approval from the Montana Public Service Commission. Phantom has filed for permission for the transfer with the Montana Public Service Commission, which regulates private water utilities, and you will have an opportunity to comment during this process.

Because of the date of transfer your next bill will not be sent following a meter reading on June 15, 2019. The meters will be read on July 1, 2019, the day of the closing, and your bill will be for the usage plus $15.00 for fire protection and $45.00 for service charge (one and a half times the customary charge for fire protection and service). Following the closing of the transfer your billing cycle will be the first of the month to first of the next month.

Additional information regarding this donation will be placed on this website when it becomes available.

Additional Information

Questions and answers regarding donation

How will my rates be affected by the transfer?

  • Phantom customers can expect a substantial reduction in their overall bill. A typical residential customer, with a 5/8-inch meter and using 500 cubic feet of water per month, currently pays $42.50/month with Phantom. That typical customer can expect the same level of service for $25.84/month, a monthly drop of $16.66. A more detailed rate comparison is also available.

When will those rates take effect?

  • The rates will take effect for all water that is distributed following the closing of the transaction, which is expected to be around July 1, 2019.

Why has Phantom Hills Water Company decided to donate the assets to the City?

  • The donation will provide the City with valuable assets that can be incorporated into the overall water system. Phantom Hills Water Company, one of the Washington Companies, is able to donate the water system and the transfer is in the ratepayer’s best interests. The City benefits because it can add a fully functioning, well-designed and well-managed water system to the City’s infrastructure.

Why does the City want the assets if Phantom Hills Water Company doesn’t?

  • The City is in the business of providing customers with water. The City benefits from economies of scale that Phantom does not have available; the City has 23,000 service lines and Phantom has 180.

Has the City completed a technical review of the Phantom Water System to determine that it is a viable asset in good condition?

  • City water professionals have done their due diligence review of the Phantom Hills water system and found it to be in good condition. The entire system is very new and some of the mains have never been used.

Is a public meeting planned so that Phantom ratepayers can find out more about the asset transfer?

  • The City and Phantom are planning a public meeting in May to answer questions. More information on the date and time will be posted soon.

What is being donated, and what is the value?

  • The assets include all the pipes, pumps, meters, water rights, reservoirs and utility lots. The original cost of all these assets was several million dollars.

Where can additional questions be directed?

  • Dennis Bowman, the City’s Deputy Public Works Director for Utilities, can answer questions about Missoula Water service via phone (406-552-6741) or email (dbowman@ci.missoula.mt.us).