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Regulators approve cut in Avista gas rates

State energy regulators today approved Avista Corp. cutting its natural gas rates by more than 25 percent.

Because of lower demand for natural gas and steep cuts in the wholesale prices for gas, Avista is cutting its rates for the third time this year.

The new cut takes effect on Nov. 1, according to a release from the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, which regulates energy rates.

Natural gas companies are required to adjust rates periodically to reflect changes in wholesale prices. About 75 percent of an Avista customer’s monthly bill is attributable to the cost of natural gas; the state also requires energy utilities to provide natural gas to customers at cost.

The utilities commission earlier this year approved two other gas rate reductions for Avista natural gas customers. Those cuts, in January and May, totaled more than 11 percent.

Due to the change, the average customer using 70 therms of natural gas per month will save $20 for a bill of about $59 per month.