(360) 664-1116 or firstname.lastname@example.orgDocket Numbers:
UE-140188 & UG-140189
Editor’s note: This news release reflects the position of energy staff of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) and NOT the views of the three-member commission. It discusses an agreement that the commissioners have not yet reviewed. Any positions taken or comments offered by the commission staff regarding this proceeding should be attributed clearly to staff members and NOT to the UTC.
State utility staff announce settlement on Avista’s electric and natural gas rate request
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Staff members of the Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) announced today an all-party agreement to settle Avista’s request to increase electric and natural gas rates for its customers in Washington.
The three-member commission, which is not bound by the agreement, will make a final decision on the utility’s rate-hike request this fall.
The settlement agreement calls for new rates to begin Jan. 1, 2015. Public hearings are scheduled next week in Spokane for customers to comment on the agreement.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Avista’s annual electric revenues would increase by $7.0 million, or 1.4 percent, beginning Jan. 1, 2015, less than the $18.2 million, or 3.8 percent, the company asked for in February.
According to the agreement, Avista would also collect an additional $8.5 million or 5.6 percent, in annual natural gas revenues beginning Jan. 1, 2015. Avista had initially requested an increase of $12.1 million, or about 7.8 percent.
Under the agreement, a residential electric customer’s bill will increase about 2.5 percent. An average residential customer using 965 kilowatt-hours could see an increase of $2.10, for a monthly bill of $82.19.
An average natural gas customer using 65 therms a month would pay $3.62, for a total monthly bill of $64.81. The overall natural gas increase for residential customers is about 5.9 percent.
The settlement agreement includes an additional $333,574 in electric and natural gas contributions to the Low-Income Ratepayer Assistance Program (LIRAP). LIRAP provides energy bill assistance to more than 12,000 qualifying low-income customers each year.
Avista customers are invited to comment on the proposed settlement to state regulators at two public meetings scheduled at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 26 in the Spokane City Council Chambers, 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd., Spokane and noon Wednesday, Aug. 27 in the Spokane Valley Council Chambers, 11707 E. Sprague Ave., Spokane Valley.
The commission has received 117 public comments to date on Avista’s rate increase proposal – one in favor, eight undecided, and 108 opposed.
Customers who are unable to attend the public meetings but wish to comment on the proposed rate hike can send correspondence to P.O. Box 47250 Olympia, Wash. 98504, email@example.com
, or call toll-free 1-888-333-9882.
In addition to the UTC staff and the company, the settlement agreement includes the Public Counsel section of the Attorney General office, the Northwest Industrial Gas Users, Industrial Customers of Northwest Utilities and The Energy Project.
Spokane-based Avista serves more than 237,000 electric and nearly 149,000 natural gas customers in Washington.
The UTC is the state agency that regulates private, investor-owned electric and natural gas utilities in Washington. It is the commission’s responsibility to ensure regulated companies provide safe and reliable service to customers at reasonable rates, while allowing them the opportunity to earn a fair profit.