February 13, 2012 in News

Avista bills could reflect falling gas prices


Falling wholesale prices for natural gas could soon be reflected in utility customers’ bills, Avista officials said today.

The Spokane-based utility has asked Washington and Idaho regulators for permission to pass lower gas prices onto customers, effective March 1.

If approved, a typical residential customer in Washington would see a 6 percent decrease on their monthly gas bill. The savings would amount to about $3.90 per month, for a total bill of $60.73.

In Idaho, a typical residential customer would see a 5.7 percent decrease. The savings would amount to $3.46 per month, for a total bill of $57.50.

A typical residential customer in Washington uses 67 therms of natural gas per month. In Idaho, the monthly average is 62 therms.

Avista’s commercial customers in Washington and Idaho would also see a savings in the 7 to 10 percent range, officials said.

An increase in natural gas supply, along with weak demand, has led to falling prices, said Dennis Vermillion, president of Avista Utilities. He said the utility wanted to pass the lower prices onto customers sooner than the fall, when adjustments for wholesale gas price fluctuations are typically made.

The wholesale cost of natural gas makes up about 65 percent of an Avista customer’s gas bill. The remaining 35 percent covers the cost of delivering the gas to clients, including equipment and employee costs.

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