December 28, 2006 in Business

Avista rebuffed on first attempt at rate increase

The Spokesman-Review

Washington regulators dismissed this week a request by Avista Utilities to raise electric rates almost 9 percent, saying the Spokane-based utility had not provided sufficient information to support its filing.

The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission ruled that Avista’s request meets the definition of a “general rate case,” but fails to comply with corresponding rules.

“The flaws in the filing are considerable and no adequate reasons have been provided to warrant granting an exemption despite its flaws,” the commission wrote in its order. However, if Avista follows up with an appropriate filing, the commission said it would hear that request “as expeditiously” as possible.

The company had requested an average 8.8 percent increase for Washington customers which would have raised the average electric bill by about $5.80 per month. Company spokesman Hugh Imhof said Avista will restructure the request so it meets the requirements.

“It’s a procedural issue,” Imhof said. “They didn’t rule on the merits of it at all.”

Avista officials have stated in the past that the increase was necessary to recover money spent on serving a growing population, along with upgrades to hydroelectric dams and transmission lines.

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