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Avista reports second-quarter earnings growth

Thu., Aug. 8, 2013

Spokane-based energy utility Avista Corp. reported second-quarter earnings Wednesday of $25.7 million, or 43 cents per share, up from $18.2 million and 31 cents per share a year earlier.

Company officials noted that Avista’s Ecova subsidiary had a strong quarter. Ecova provides energy audits and management services for other companies; its operating loss last year was one reason cited by Avista for weaker-than-expected 2012 numbers.

Ecova reported net earnings of $1.5 million for the quarter, compared with $1.1 million from second-quarter 2012.

Utility earnings also exceeded expectations. Company President and CEO Scott Morris told analysts in a conference call Wednesday that lower operating costs, a beneficial settlement with the Bonneville Power Administration over payments owed and warmer-than-normal weather during the second quarter were responsible for Avista’s improved results. The BPA settlement announced earlier this year provides a payment by the BPA for its use of Avista power lines.

The benefits of that settlement will be shared among utility customers and shareholders, said Jessie Wuerst, an Avista spokeswoman.

Also cited as a factor in quarterly earnings growth were general rate increases that went into effect in Washington on Jan. 1, Morris said.

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