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Avista reports higher third quarter earnings

Hot summer days contributed to higher third quarter earnings for Avista Corp., officials said today.

The Spokane-based utility cited air-conditioning demand as a factor in its quarterly income of $11.4 million, or 19 cents per share, on revenue of $335.8 million.

For the same period last year, Avista reported income of $5.8 million or 10 cents per share.

Company officials also attributed the quarter’s strong performance to rate increases for Washington customers, lower-than-expected operating costs and growth at its subsidiary Ecova. Ecova provides energy audits and management services for other companies.

Scott Morris, Avista’s chairman and CEO, also discussed the company’s planned purchase of an Alaska utility during a conference call with analysts. The utility serves about 16,000 electric customers in the Juneau area. Five dams supply nearly all of the utility’s electricity. And, “that’s our sweet spot,” Morris said.

The $170 million stock purchase of Alaska Electric Light and Power is expected to close in July.

Avista reported income of $79.4 million for the first nine months of the year, compared to $62.4 million for the first nine months of 2012.

Company officials expect 2013 earnings to be in the range of $1.70 to $1.90 per share.

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