August 26, 2008 in Idaho

Avista seeks higher gas rate in Idaho

Boost would be 14.2 percent
From staff reports

Avista Corp. wants its Idaho customers to pick up the tab for higher wholesale rates for natural gas.

The utility filed a request for $11.6 million in additional gas revenues with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission last week. If approved, Avista’s 72,000 Idaho customers would see a 14.2 percent hike on their monthly gas bills effective Oct. 1.

According to the utility, a typical residential customer would pay an additional $10.44 per month, for a total gas bill of $85.58.

Avista anticipates filing a similar request in Washington.

Although wholesale prices for natural gas fell about 30 percent in August, prices are still higher than they were a year ago, said Kevin Christie, Avista’s director of natural gas supply.

Christie said natural gas prices have been especially volatile this year, which creates challenges for Avista as it buys natural gas for the 2008-09 winter heating season. The utility either pre-purchases or stores about 67 percent of customers’ expected demand for natural gas.

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