State regulators recommend that Avista be allowed to raise electric and natural gas rates in Washington.
If the Washington Utilities 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.
Retired state workers on Medicare to be repaid
About 36,000 retired state workers who are on Medicare will receive checks for underpayment of claims from 2011, the Washington Health Care Authority said Friday.
The retirees were underpaid by an average of about $150; about 550 of them are owed more than $500, according to a news release.
The checks will be mailed next week.
The problems surfaced during “coordination of benefits” for retirees who are on Medicare and are enrolled in the state’s Uniform Medical Plan, the release said. The reimbursements are for copayments, deductibles and other costs.
The reimbursement will total $5.2 million, the release said.
Outdoor burning ban lifted in city of Spokane
The city of Spokane has lifted a ban on outdoor burning imposed more than two months ago.
Fire Marshal Lisa Jones issued a notice Friday rescinding the ban within city limits. The ban was imposed Aug. 14.
Outdoor recreational fires still must use permitted fuels: seasoned firewood, charcoal, propane or natural gas. Fires must have adequate clearance from combustible materials and be attended by an adult with fire extinguishing equipment on hand, a city news release said.
Spokane Valley and unincorporated Spokane County lifted the burn ban Thursday.