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Avista reports higher first quarter earnings on robust snowpack

UPDATED: Wed., May 3, 2017, 2:26 p.m.

 (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
(Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

The winter’s heavy snowpack gave a boost to Avista Corp.’s first quarter earnings, filling reservoirs with water for hydroelectric generation.

Avista produced higher than normal amounts of electricity at its dams, contributing to first quarter income of $62.1 million, or 96 cents per share, the company reported Wednesday.

The results compared to $57.6 million, or 92 cents, during the first quarter of 2016.

The Spokane-based utility plans to ask Washington and Idaho regulators for increases in electric and natural gas rates in 2018, said Scott Morris, Avista’s chairman and CEO. Company officials expect to file the rate cases in both states before the end of June.

As a regulated utility, Avista needs approval from state regulators to raise rates.

In December, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission rejected Avista’s request for higher rates in 2017, saying the company failed to show that its current revenue was insufficient.

Morris said the utility has had productive meetings with the commission over the past several months to discuss its costs. Avista will also file a separate request for an additional $15 million to address higher wholesale electricity costs, he said.


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