Local News - Local News - October 11, 2012
Avista Corp., of Spokane, says it has reached a settlement with other parties on the utility's electric and natural gas rate increase requests for Washington customers filed April 2.
If the settlement is approved by the state Utilities and Transportation Commission, Avista would raise electricity rates Jan. 1, 2013, and Jan. 1, 2014, that would have a net average electric rate increase impact to customers of 2 percent each year.
Natural-gas customers would see an average increase of 3.6 percent at the beginning of 2013 and 0.9 percent at the beginning of 2014.
As part of the settlement, Avista agrees not to seek another general rate increase that would go into effect before Jan. 1, 2015.
The original rate-increase request filed by Avista called for a 9 percent increase in electricity rates and a 7 percent increase in natural-gas rates.
In addition to Avista, parties to the proposed settlement are the staff of the WUTC, Northwest Industrial Gas Users, Industrial Customers of Northwest Utilities, and a low-income customer advocacy group called The Energy Project.
Separately, Avista says its preliminary financial results for the third quarter are below expectations, and the company is lowering its consolidated earnings guidance for the year.
Preliminary results show third-quarter net income attributable to Avista Corp. of $5.8 million, or 10 cents a diluted share, compared with income of $10.7 million, or 18 cents a share, for the 2011 third quarter.
Avista Chairman, President, and CEO Scott L. Morris says, "This is primarily due to weak results at Ecova, as well as losses at our other non-utility businesses. We continue to expect utility results to be at the lower end of our original earnings guidance."
He adds that the WUTC settlement and management of operating costs should result in "a much stronger year" in 2013.