Avista gas bills may fall
Utility asks to pass cost savings to users
Falling wholesale prices for natural gas could soon be reflected in utility customers’ bills, Avista officials said Monday.
The Spokane-based utility has asked Washington and Idaho regulators for permission to pass lower gas prices on to customers, effective March 1.
If approved, a typical residential customer in Washington would see a 6 percent decrease in 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 would see a savings in the 7 percent 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. Utility officials wanted to pass the lower costs on to customers sooner than the fall, when price adjustments based on wholesale gas cost are usually made, he said.
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 personnel costs.