Avista customers will pay less for natural gas this winter as a result of lower wholesale prices.
State regulators approved the Spokane-based utility’s request to reduce natural gas rates for residential customers by 6.3 percent in Washington and by 6.4 percent in Idaho. The new rates took effect Friday.
This is the second time that Avista has lowered its gas rates in recent months. An earlier reduction was effective Nov. 1.
The utility is required to adjust its gas rates about once a year, based on fluctuations in wholesale prices. Avista sought two price reductions in recent months.
Avista President Dennis Vermillion said the utility wanted to pass the savings to customers as quickly as possible, so they could benefit this winter.
A typical Washington household using 65 therms of gas per month will pay $3.67 less per month, for a revised bill of $52.80.
In Idaho, a typical household using 63 therms of gas per month will pay $2.32 less per month, for a revised bill of $50.29. The calculation includes a small increase in base gas rates, which went into effect in early January.
Wholesale gas prices and the cost of delivering the gas to Avista’s distribution system account for about 40 percent of customers’ bills. This winter, natural gas customers are benefiting from high levels of natural gas production and large amounts in storage heading into the heating season.
In a separate action, Avista is seeking higher base rates for electricity and natural gas in Washington. Base rates are the part of the bill that covers expenses not related to wholesale power costs, including equipment and personnel.
The request is pending before the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission.
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