Customer Notice

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MEDIA ADVISORY: Public invited to comment on approximately $60 million Avista rate settlement

Docket Number: UE-220053, UG-220054, and UE-210854 (consolidated)

Editor’s note: This news release reflects the position of 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.

Virtual public comment hearing Sept. 7 

LACEY, Wash. - The UTC is inviting the public to attend a virtual public comment hearing or provide written feedback on Avista’s rate increase request and proposed settlement agreement.

Under the settlement agreement, Avista’s electric revenue would increase by $38 million (6.9%) on Dec. 21 and $12.5 million (2.1%) a year later on Dec. 21, 2023; Avista’s natural gas revenue would increase by $7.5 million (6.5%) on Dec. 21 and $1.5 million (1.2%) a year later on Dec. 21, 2023.

The three-member commission, who is not bound by the settlement agreement, will make a final decision on the company’s request by Dec. 21.

WHAT

Virtual public comment hearing

WHO

Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission

WHEN and WHERE

Wednesday, Sept. 7

6 p.m.

Join by Zoom (recommended), or by phone at 253-215-8782 and use Meeting ID: 932 0659 352# and Passcode: 333313#.

Translation services are available at no cost to you. If possible, please inform the commission at least one business day before the meeting by calling 360-664-1140, or by emailing paige.doyle@utc.wa.gov.

If you need a reasonable accommodation to attend the meeting, please contact the UTC at least one business day before the meeting by calling 360-664-1132 or emailing human_resources@utc.wa.gov.

You can also submit public comments:

BACKGROUND

In January, Avista requested to update its electric and natural gas rates in a two-year rate plan, increasing customer rates in December of 2022 and 2023. In the original request, Avista requested a total electric revenue increase of $70 million and a total $13.1 million natural gas increase.

In June, UTC staff announced a settlement agreement reducing the company’s revenue increase to a total of $59.5 million, further offset by the return of $27.6 million to electric customers and $12.5 million to natural gas customers in a residual tax customer credit.

Settling parties also agree to a rate of return of 7.03%.

The settlement also addresses Avista’s cost tracking for its share of the Colstrip coal-fired plant in Montana, how Avista will meet requirements in Washington’s clean energy laws, and cost recovery and funding to support low-income customer assistance programs.

Parties to the settlement are UTC staff, Avista, the Alliance of Western Energy Customers, The Northwest Energy Coalition, The Energy Project, Sierra Club, Walmart, Inc., and Small Business Utility Advocates.

The Public Counsel Unit of the Office of the Attorney General — who represents customer interests in UTC rate proceedings — opposes the agreement.

Spokane-based Avista serves more than 250,000 electric customers and nearly 164,000 natural gas customers 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. 

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Topic(s)
Consumer
Energy
General