November 3, 2011 in City, Idaho

Avista reports lower earnings as expected

By The Spokesman-Review

Avista Corp. reported lower third-quarter earnings of $10.7 million, or 18 cents per share, compared with $12.3 million, or 22 cents per share, for the third quarter of 2010.

The results, released Wednesday, were in line with the Spokane-based utility’s expectations, said Scott Morris, Avista’s chairman and chief executive officer. The company reported robust earnings through the first nine months of the year. Avista’s income was $75.6 million, or $1.30 per share, through Sept. 30, compared with $66.7 million, or $1.20 per share, for the same period in 2010.

General rate increases and colder weather that resulted in higher demand for electricity and natural gas benefited the utility’s bottom line this year. Avista also experienced one of the best years on record for hydropower generation. Morris said customers benefited from lower wholesale electric prices, which were passed on through cost deferrals.

Looking ahead, Morris is projecting 3 percent growth in Avista’s earnings for 2012. He predicted that the utility’s earnings will be limited by a struggling economy, a delay in recovering capital costs through rate increases and higher operation expenses, including pension costs.

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