October 1, 2011 in Idaho

Settlement reduces Avista rate increase

Idaho customers will see slight decrease in gas, electric bills
By The Spokesman-Review
 

Avista Corp. announced a multiple-party settlement Friday that could cut the amount of its proposed electric and gas rate hikes for Washington customers.

Meanwhile, the Spokane-based utility has reached an agreement with Idaho regulators that should result in a slight decrease in bills for its Idaho customers.

Washington rates

The proposed Washington settlement among Avista, the Utilities and Transportation Commission staff, the attorney general’s office and other parties would reduce the proposed electric rate hikes from 9.1 percent to 4.6 percent. With a 4.6 percent hike, the bill for a typical household using 1,000 kilowatts hours of electricity per month would go up by $3.02, for a revised monthly bill of $80.03.

For natural gas, the settlement would reduce the proposed hike from 4 percent to 2.4 percent. With a 2.4 percent hike, the bill for a typical household using 70 therms of gas per month would go up $1.76, for a revised monthly bill of $64.09.

Effective date: The settlement calls for an effective date of Jan. 1 and would prohibit Avista from filing for another rate hike before April 1.

What’s next: The settlement must still be reviewed by the three-member Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, which could either accept or reject the settlement.

Public comment will be accepted at three public hearings: at noon Nov. 8, in the Spokane Valley Council Chambers, 11707 E. Sprague Ave.; at 6 p.m. Nov. 8, in the Spokane City Council Chambers, 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.; and noon Nov. 9 in the Pullman City Council Chambers, 325 S.E. Paradise St., Pullman.

Idaho rates

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission on Friday approved a hike in Avista’s base rates, along with some credits that will actually decrease electric bills.

For electric rates, the base rate will go up about 1.1 percent. However, a credit from lower wholesale power rates and other sources would actually lower a typical household’s bill by $1.79 per month, for a revised bill of $82.02. In Idaho, a typical household uses an average of 956 kilowatt hours per month.

For natural gas rates, the base rate will go up 1.6 percent. However, that’s partially offset by a credit from a decrease in the amount of money collected to fund energy efficiency programs. A typical household using 62 therms of natural gas per month would see a 20 cent increase, for a revised bill of $60.96.

Customer service charges will increase from $5 to $5.25 per month for electricity and from $4 to $4.24 per month for gas customers.

Effective date: Today.

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