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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Avista seeks higher rates for home heating this winter, primarily for natural gas users

It could cost more for Avista customers to heat their homes this winter.

The Spokane-based utility is asking state regulators in Washington and Idaho to charge the average homeowner with a natural gas furnace about $9 more per month. The request, called an annual rate adjustment, was filed with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission and the Idaho Public Utilities Commission.

The rates for electric customers will be about the same.

If approved by state regulators, the electric and natural gas increases would take effect Nov. 1, according to Avista.

The company said the proposed natural gas rate increase would cover the higher wholesale costs the company is incurring. Natural gas prices rose beginning in late March, with prices reaching levels not seen in more than 13 years, according to Avista. The company said it would not profit from the rate adjustment.

The company said the average residential natural gas customer in Washington would have their monthly bills rise from $72.66 to $81.59 – a 12.3% increase.

In Idaho, the average residential natural gas customer would see their monthly bill rise from $61.30 to $70.52 – a 15% cost hike.

Residential electric customers in Washington using an average of 932 kilowatt hours per month would see their monthly bills change from $85.07 to $85.87, an increase of 80 cents per month, or approximately 0.9%.

Avista did not specify any changes to Idaho customers’ electric bills.

The proposed electric rate increases in Washington are to recoup additional expenses from addressing increased wildfires in its service territory, according to a company release.

Avista’s most recent rate request is separate from a multiparty settlement agreement reached in June that, if approved by state regulators, would raise electricity rates by 7.7% during the next two years and natural gas rates by 1.1%. The first increase would take effect in December.

The Washington UTC will host a virtual public comment hearing for the multiparty settlement agreement at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.

The public may participate through Zoom or phone. The Zoom link and phone participation information can be found on the UTC website at utc.wa.gov/220053.

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