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Huckleberries Online

Wed., Sept. 28, 2005, 9:20 a.m.

SR Letter of the Day — Avista Execs Pay

I know why Avista needs another 23 percent increase from all of us in natural gas rates. It is so three of its top executives can stay on the list of 40 highest paid executives of Spokane publicly traded companies.

The June 2 Journal of Business shows that for 2004, G. Ely made $906,675 total compensation. This was a 13 percent increase over 2003. M. Malquist made $389,514, a 14 percent increase and S. Morris made $379,500. Additionally, D. Meyer made $345,764 and R. Peterson made $261,998. More than $2 million was spent for one year's compensation for just five Avista executives!

Last year Washington's natural gas rate went up 16 percent. In the Sept. 13 Spokesman-Review, the spokeswoman for the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission said, "I want to make sure people understand that the commission is very thorough in reviewing the company's numbers" ("Heating bills likely going up").

We need a WUTC that can make a rational comparison of the cost of living in our area vs. "company numbers" when considering Avista's rate increase requests.

We are controlled by its monopoly. Why are we taking the hits when the executives just keep making more and more in their six-digit luxury salaries?

G.R. Cadagan

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Huckleberries Online

D.F. Oliveria started Huckleberries Online on Feb. 16, 2004. Oliveria's Sunday print Huckleberries is a past winner of the national Herb Caen Memorial Column contest.