September 30, 2006 in Business

Avista scales back gas rate requests

By The Spokesman-Review

Avista Corp. wants to scale back its request to charge Eastern Washington customers more money for natural gas.

In Idaho, the utility plans to cut rates.

The moves should be a welcome bit of news as autumn sets in and the cost of winter heating reappears in family budgets.

Natural gas prices have fallen, and thus the cost of procuring supplies for Avista customers has dropped.

The company said Friday it will ask the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission for a 2.5 percent rate boost. That’s down from the 8.1 percent rate hike initially sought.

In Idaho, Avista is asking regulators to allow the company to lower rates by 2 percent. The company had been seeking a 3.2 percent rate increase.

If regulators go along with the Spokane utility’s requests, heating the average Eastern Washington home with natural gas will cost $88.81 per month.

In Idaho the average monthly home natural gas bill will be $84.60.

Avista spokeswoman Catherine Markson said Idaho ratepayers have been paying more in recent years, allowing Avista to cut back on rates.

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