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Avista reports lower earnings

Thu., May 3, 2012

First-quarter profit down from last year

Avista Corp. reported a profit of $38.4 million for the first quarter, slightly down from last year’s first quarter profit of $41.9 million.

The results, released Wednesday morning by the Spokane-based utility, amounted to earnings of 65 cents per share compared to 73 cents per share for the first quarter of 2011.

Last year’s first-quarter earnings reflected profits from colder-than-average temperatures and stream flows that produced excellent conditions for hydropower generation, said Scott Morris, Avista’s chairman and CEO.

The utility is predicting another strong year for hydroelectric generation, based on the snowpack and recent rains. In addition, Morris said low costs for wholesale electricity and natural gas will benefit both the utility and its customers.

Avista filed a general rate case in Washington in early April, which Morris said is needed to recover costs associated with capital investments and higher operations and maintenance costs. The company also proposed a one-year rebate on the portion of customer bills that reflects the wholesale cost of energy, to reflect lower natural gas prices and electricity costs.

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