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Gas prices fall for Avista customers

Avista’s Washington customers will pay less for natural gas after state regulators today approved the utility’s request to lower rates beginning March 1.

The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission approved the company’s request to reduce natural gas rates by 6 percent, or $3.90 for residential customers using 67 therms a month. A similar request is pending in Idaho.

Natural gas companies are required to adjust rates periodically to reflect changes in wholesale prices. About two-thirds of an Avista customer’s monthly bill is attributable to the cost of natural gas on which the company is not allowed to collect a profit.

An increase in supply and weak demand has led to falling prices. Avista purchases natural gas from suppliers in Wyoming, Alberta and British Columbia and distributes it to customers in Washington, Idaho and Oregon.

The three-member Utilities and Transportation Commission regulates private, investor-owned natural gas utilities in Washington.