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Avista files for rate increase settlement, awaits Idaho regulator approval

 (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
(Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

Avista Corp. has reached a proposed settlement over its request to raise Idaho customers’ rates in 2018 and 2019.

If the Idaho Public Utilities Commission approves the settlement announced Monday, the Spokane-based utility would collect an additional $17.4 million in electric revenues over the two-year period and $2.3 million in additional natural gas revenues.

For residential customers, electric and natural gas rates would increase on Jan. 1 of both 2018 and 2019. After both increases took effect, a typical household would pay about $150 per month for electricity and natural gas.

For a household using an average of 910 kilowatt hours of electricity per month, electric bills would increase by $5.22 per month beginning Jan. 1, for a total of $93.34.

In 2019, electric bills would increase by $2.16 per month, for a total of $95.50.

For households using an average of 63 therms of natural gas per month, gas bills would increase by $1.13 per month on Jan. 1, for a total of $53.74.

In 2019, gas bills would increase by $1.09 per month, for a total of $54.83.

Dennis Vermillion, Avista Corp.’s senior vice president and president of Avista Utilities, called the proposed increases “fair and reasonable” for both customers and shareholders. The new rates would allow the utility to continue upgrading aging infrastructure while earning a 9.5 percent return on equity, he said in a news release.

If the three-member Public Utilities Commission approves the settlement, Avista will not seek to raise rates before Jan. 1, 2020.

Avista reached the settlement with several parties, including industrial customers, the staff of the Public Utilities Commission and the Community Action Partnership, which represents low-income households.