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Sunday, March 29, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Avista reports lower 2Q income; will reveal details of Hydro One deal in September

UPDATED: Wed., Aug. 2, 2017

SR (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

Avista Corp. will reveal more details next month about how the utility’s proposed $5.3 billion sale to Hydro One came about.

A proxy statement to shareholders in September will provide information about the inner workings of the deal, including whether Avista executives considered offers from other utilities, said Mark Thies, the company’s chief financial officer.

The proposed sale of the 128-year-old Spokane utility to a company based in Toronto dominated Avista’s quarterly earnings conference call Wednesday morning. Avista executives answered questions about the regulatory process for getting the sale approved in the U.S., but deferred questions about the deal’s development until the release of the proxy statement.

The sale of Avista to the Canadian company is expected to close in the third quarter of 2018, pending approval from shareholders and state and federal authorities.

In other news, Avista reported better-than-expected results for the second quarter, based on strong hydropower production and lower operating costs. The utility reported income of $21.8 million, or 34 cents per share, for the quarter. The results compared to $27.3 million, or 43 cents per share, for the second quarter of 2016.

While Avista’s 2017 quarterly income is better than expected, company earnings are down compared to last year as a result of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission’s decision not to allow a rate increase for 2017, said Scott Morris, Avista’s chairman and chief executive.

Avista has submitted a new request to raise Washington customers’ electric and gas rates over a three-year period. Company officials also filed requests for a two-year rate increase in Idaho, and recently reached a settlement for higher rates in Oregon.

During the conference call, Morris confirmed earnings guidance of $1.80 to $2 per share for 2017, including costs related to Avista’s sale to Hydro One.

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