Representatives from the Inland Northwest’s largest utility companies say new customer growth in the first six months of 2015 largely mirrors figures from the previous year.
Citing a gradually rebounding economy, representatives for Avista Utilities, Inland Power & Light Co., and Kootenai Electric Cooperative Inc. say their respective utility companies anticipate either meeting or exceeding new customer projections for the year.
Avista, spokeswoman Jessie Wuerst says that Spokane-based company has experienced a slight increase in new customers. Wuerst says Avista had 369,000 total customers on June 30, up from 367,092 a year earlier.
“Basically, our customer numbers are growing on average by less than 1 percent,” Wuerst says. Avista recently filed its natural gas integrated resource plan (IRP) in Washington, Idaho, and Oregon. The plan acts as a long-range planning process and predictor of utility consumption.
Jennifer Lutz, spokeswoman for Inland Power & Light, says the utility cooperative saw 200 new activations in the first half of 2015 compared with 150 in the same time period in 2014.
The cooperative has a total of 39,000 members in 13 counties in Eastern Washington and North Idaho.
Hayden-based Kootenai Electric Cooperative Inc. reports 204 new connections in 2015 compared with 258 for the first six months of last year. Company spokeswoman Erika Neff notes that several new apartment complexes came online there, which contributed to 54 fewer new connections this year, she says.
“We’ve budgeted for about 500 new customers. We think we’re going to reach that number,” Neff says. Kootenai Electric had a total of 483 new connections for all of 2014.
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