State regulators approve decrease for Avista natural gas customers
Lower rates to take effect July 1
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Avista natural gas customers will see a slight decrease in their natural gas bills starting July 1 due to an adjustment in energy efficiency rebates and incentive programs.
The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) has approved the company’s request to return to natural gas customers the portion of funds it collected for efficiency and conservation rebate and incentive programs but did not use during the past year.
As a result, an average Avista residential natural gas customer using 67 therms a month will see a monthly bill decrease of 2 percent, or a little more than $1. There is no change to the current rebate program for electric customers.
The UTC requires the utilities to “true up” annually the amount it collects for the natural gas programs and the amount it pays out in rebates and incentives. Of the rebates paid in 2010, over 28,000 were to Avista customers in Washington for a total refund of $13.3 million. The most popular energy and cost-saving measures for residential customers included purchasing Energy Star appliances, installing high-efficiency natural gas furnaces and upgrading windows and insulation. The average residential rebate for a single-family home was $131.
Approximately $1.5 million in weatherization investment was provided for qualifying low-income customers in Washington.
Spokane-based Avista serves nearly 147,000 natural gas customers primarily in Eastern 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.