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Thank you, commissioners

I would like to express my gratitude to Washington Utilities and Transportation Commissioners Danner, Rendahl and Balasbas for holding public comment hearings in Spokane Valley, Colville, Colfax and Othello. At the hearing in Spokane Valley, the commissioners listened attentively to all comments. They traveled from their offices in Olympia to hear consumer concerns about the proposed acquisition of Avista by Hydro One. They are truly dedicated public servants.

As Becky Kramer’s article (“Public has say on Avista,” April 24, 2018) mentioned, several people expressed concern that a change in utility ownership could cause utility rate increases. We should be reminded that no matter which for-profit entity owns our utility, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission must rule on every rate increase proposal.

Last year, Avista requested a 12.6 percent increase in electricity rates to be effective this May. The commissioners rejected the proposed double-digit increase and approved only a much smaller 2.7 percent rate increase instead.

In the post-Citizens United era, we are inundated with the message that corporations and free-markets are good, while government and regulations are bad.

The commissioners’ commitment to public service reminds me of the good government can do. Fair regulation and impartial oversight can protect citizens’ interests.

Rebecca MacMullan


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