UTC to hold hearing on Avista rate hike request

Staff Writer

Avista customers will have an opportunity to comment to the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission at 6 p.m. on Oct. 28 at the Northeast Community Center, N4001 Cook St., Spokane, on the company’s proposed electric and natural gas rate changes.
In April, Avista filed a general rate case with the commission to request a two-year rate plan for its electric and gas customers.
For the first year of the rate plan, the company requested $45.8 million in additional electric revenue and $12.9 million in additional gas revenue. For the second year, the company requested an additional increase of $18.9 million in electric revenues and $6.5 million in natural gas revenues.
The company’s proposed rates would increase the average residential electric customer’s bill by $7.93, for an average monthly bill of $89.14. The company’s proposal would also raise the average residential natural gas customer’s bill by $4.60, for an average monthly bill of $51.
In October, Commission energy staff recommended smaller increases to electric and natural gas rates after reviewing the company’s operating costs and new infrastructure investments.
Under staff’s proposed rates for the first year of the rate plan, Avista’s average residential electric customer using 918 kilowatt hours a month would pay $4.72 more a month, for an average monthly bill of $85.93. Avista’s average residential natural gas customer using 66 therms a month would pay $2.97 more, for an average monthly bill of $49.37.
The three-member commission, which is not bound by the staff recommendation, will make a final decision on the utility’s rate request next spring. New rates would go into effect April 2020.
The commission has received 115 public comments to date on Avista’s rate proposal—114 opposed and one undecided.
Customers who want to comment on the proposed plans can submit comments online at www.utc.wa.gov/comments; write to P.O. Box 47250, Olympia, WA, 98504; email comments@utc.wa.gov; or call toll-free 1-888-333-9882.
The company last filed a rate case in 2017.