Avista expects much lower gas rates

Avista Utilities natural gas customers in Idaho and Washington can expect a double-digit price cut when the Spokane utility submits new rate filings to regulators later this month, spokeswoman Debbie Simock said Monday.

Avista Monday asked the Oregon Public Utility Commission to cut rates by 21 percent for its 95,000 customers in that state.

Simock said the company is still calculating the reductions it will seek in Idaho and Washington to account for the plummeting cost of natural gas.

She noted rates were cut about 3 percent in January and 8 percent in June as slack demand and new supplies pushed gas prices downward.

As of August 28, prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange had fallen by two-thirds compared with Aug. 1, 2008.

If approved by regulators, Oregon customers will save an average $16.22 per month on the gas portion of their utility bills, Simock said.

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