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Friday, February 28, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Average Avista customer to see nearly 15% gas rate increase after Washington state regulators’ action

UPDATED: Fri., Oct. 25, 2019

This photo from July 19, 2017, shows Avista’s in Spokane. Avista Corp. on Wednesday reported a $5 million increase in net earnings for the fourth quarter of 2019 compared to the prior year. (Tyler Tjomsland / SR)
This photo from July 19, 2017, shows Avista’s in Spokane. Avista Corp. on Wednesday reported a $5 million increase in net earnings for the fourth quarter of 2019 compared to the prior year. (Tyler Tjomsland / SR)

Avista’s natural gas customers in Washington will see a nearly 15% rate increase, on average, following a rate adjustment approval by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission.

The average bill for a typical Avista residential natural gas customer using 66 therms will go up by $7 a month, or 14.8%, for a bill of $54.85, according to the UTC.

The increase, effective Nov. 1, is blamed partly on a Canadian gas pipeline explosion last year.

On Oct. 9, 2018, a 36-inch diameter natural gas mainline that supplied Canada, Washington, Oregon and Idaho burst near Prince George, British Columbia. About half of Washington’s natural gas comes from British Columbia and Alberta. Enbridge, the pipeline’s owner, completed repairs on the ruptured section of the pipeline Oct. 31, but capacity was affected through winter 2019.

Avista’s rate change is also due to the company’s revenue decoupling mechanism, a UTC-approved tool allowing the utility’s revenues to be “decoupled” from sales. A statement from the UTC says this removes a “company’s financial disincentive to invest in conservation and energy efficiency.”

Avista was not the only utility to see natural gas rate adjustments by the UTC. The others are Cascade Natural Gas, NW Natural and Puget Sound Energy.

However, Avista customers will see the largest rate adjustment increase.

The Spokane-based utility has nearly 169,000 natural gas customers in Eastern Washington.

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