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Avista requests changes to gas, electric rates

Avista’s Idaho customers could see a decrease in electricity prices and an increase in natural gas prices if the state’s Public Utilities Commission approves two requests filed by the company Monday.

Residential and small-farm customers using an average of 956 kilowatt-hours per month could see their monthly electric bills drop about $1.77, or 2.11 percent, due to an increase in benefits from the Bonneville Power Administration’s Residential Exchange Credit program.

The increase results from a recent settlement agreement regarding how benefits of hydroelectric power from the federal Columbia River power system are shared, an Avista news release said. Avista’s residential and small-farm customers in Idaho will receive $4.4 million in benefits, up from the current $1.8 million, under the settlement.

Avista also sought its annual purchase gas cost adjustment (PGA) filing Monday, requesting a 1.53 percent increase in natural gas prices in Idaho. The filing balances the cost of wholesale natural gas with the amount already included in customer rates. The increase is the result of a reduction in a refund provided to customers from Avista’s 2009 PGA filing.

If the request is approved, a residential customer using an average of 62 therms per month would see a 99-cent, or 1.63 percent, increase in monthly rates.

New rates would become effective Oct. 1.

Avista’s corresponding filings affecting Washington customers are likely to occur in September, the release said.

Staff reports

Woodward moves to evening newscasts

KXLY news anchor Nadine Woodward will move to the 5, 6 and 6:30 p.m. newscasts, starting Sept. 12, the Spokane ABC affiliate announced on Monday.

Woodward will be joined as co-anchor by Mike Gonzalez, who has shared KXLY’s 5 to 7 a.m. Good Morning Northwest report with her.

In March 2010 Woodward joined KXLY after losing her longtime anchor job at KREM-TV. KREM’s action led to hundreds of angry calls and protests by her admirers.

Robyn Nance, currently KXLY’s evening co-anchor, and station Sports Director Derek Deis will handle the morning co-anchor jobs.

Staff reports

Foreign holdings fell during debt talks

WASHINGTON – Foreign investors cut their holdings of U.S. Treasury debt in June for the first time in more than two years. The decline came at a time of anxiety about whether the United States would raise its borrowing limit.

China, the biggest buyer of U.S. Treasury debt, increased its investment for a third straight month. But Japan, the second-largest buyer, along with Brazil, Russia, Hong Kong, and a group that includes the Bahamas, Bermuda, the Netherlands and the Cayman Islands cut their investments.

Overall foreign holdings dropped 0.4 percent to $4.5 trillion. It was the first decline since April 2009.

Much of the decline was driven by private investors. Their net purchases of long-term U.S. Treasurys fell a record $18.3 billion in June. Net purchases are the difference between what investors buy and sell in one month.

The decline lowered private investors’ overall foreign holdings by $15.1 billion.

Overall foreign holdings of governments, which include central banks, dropped only $1.7 billion. Governments account for roughly 72 percent of total foreign holdings of U.S. Treasury debt.

Congress and the Obama administration reached a deal on Aug. 2 that would allow the U.S. government to increase its $14.3 trillion borrowing limit by more than $2 trillion.

Associated Press


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