Spokane Journal of Business

Avista seeks rate increases in Idaho

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Avista Corp., of Spokane, has filed requests with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission to increase electric and natural gas rates in Idaho.

If approved as requested, an average electric residential customer in Idaho would see a 5.3 percent increase, or $4.20 a month. An average natural gas customer would see a 7.8 percent increase, or $4.12 a month.

The IPUC has up to seven months to review the proposals and make a decision.

The rate-hike requests follow rate decreases that went into effect Oct. 1 because of lower natural gas prices and lower power supply costs. The IPUC approved those rate decreases in July.

Avista Chairman, President, and CEO Scott L. Morris says in a press release, "It's good that natural gas prices have been lower, because we've been able to pass those savings through to customers with rate decreases. But the other costs of delivering energy to customers safely and reliably continue to rise."

In Washington last month, the state Utilities and Transportation Commission and the state Attorney General's Office urged rejection of electrical and natural gas rate increases Avista proposed, saying they were too high. For electrical rates, the utilities commission staff recommended an overall reduction of $1.3 million, rather than the $41 million increase the company requested. The commission staff agreed that Avista should be allowed to raise natural-gas rates, but only by 2.8 percent instead of the requested 7 percent hike.

The Washington UTC is scheduled to review the request Oct. 25.

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