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Avista to pass along lower wholesale gas prices

With wholesale prices for natural gas in a steady decline, Avista Corp. is paying less for the commodity and says it will pass on the savings to utility customers.

Customers could see an average savings of $5 to $7 on their monthly bills this summer.

Spokane-based Avista has asked regulators in both Washington and Idaho to reduce natural gas prices by 8.1 percent and 6.7 percent respectively, effective June 1.

“We know many of our customers are concerned about expenses in this economy and we want to pass these additional savings on to them as soon as possible,” said Kelly Norwood, Avista’s vice president for state and federal regulation.

Avista will ask for another decrease in natural gas prices in September if prices remain low, Norwood said.

The monthly savings would amount to $7.02 for a Washington customer using 70 therms of natural gas each month.

An Idaho customer would see an average of $5.26 in monthly savings.

While Avista is passing on lower wholesale natural gas costs, the utility is also asking state regulators for higher rates to recover its fixed costs for delivering natural gas to customers.

The company wants to raise natural gas prices for Washington customers by 2.4 percent, and for Idaho customers by 3 percent. Public utilities commissions in both states are currently considering those requests.

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