State staff, Avista reach rate hike settlement

State regulators recommend that Avista be allowed to raise electric and natural gas rates in Washington.

If the Washington Utilites and Transportation Commission this winter adopts a settlement reached by its staff and Avista, the Spokane utility will collect 2 percent more – or $9.25 million – in 2013 for electricity, and then another 2 percent – or $9.44 million – in 2014.

The rate increases, according to commission staff, are much less than the $41 million the company sought in its May request.

The settlement announced Friday afternoon also would bump natural gas rates. Avista would be able to collect 3.7 percent more for gas – or $5.3 million – next year. And in 2014 Avista would be allowed another 0.9 percent, or $1.4 million.

The settlement includes a provision that Avista would not seek further rate hikes until 2015.

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