Idaho to study Avista request for six months


Utility seeking more efficiency funds

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission will spend six months reviewing Avista Utilities’ request for more money to pay for natural gas energy efficiency programs, officials announced Friday.

The utility wants to increase its “energy efficiency rider” by 2.6 percent, or about $1.52 per month for a typical residential gas customer. The tariff pays for 30 different programs that reduce natural gas use, including rebates for customers who buy energy-efficient appliances and furnaces. About $465,000 also helps low-income customers pay their bills.

None of the money from the tariff goes toward Avista’s earnings, said Gene Fadness, the public utility commission’s spokesman.

In reviewing Avista’s request, commission staff will evaluate whether Avista runs cost-effective programs. “We want to know, do the customers save more money with the plan in place?” Fadness said.

Avista said energy efficiency programs save customers money, because the utility doesn’t have to buy as much natural gas on the open market. That benefits all of the utility’s customers, even those who don’t receive rebates, Avista officials said.

Information for submitting public comments on Avista’s request will be announced at a later time.

The Spokane-based utility serves 72,300 natural gas customers in North Idaho. Avista has a similar request pending before the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission.

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