Avista rate hike denied

SPOKANE, Wash - Washington's commission that oversees utilities and transportation has rejected Avista's request to raise electric and natural gas rates.

The Utilities and Transportation Commission voted two to one to reject the proposal, filed by Avista in February. The company wanted to raise electric rates by 7.6 percent and natural gas rates by 2.8 percent.

73 people submitted public comments on Avista's proposal. 71 were opposed, two were undecided, none were in favor.

In the order, the commission stated, "Avista proposes to maintain a trajectory of rate increases that could continue on the same slope to the indefinite future, yet it has not presented adequate evidentiary support to demonstrate that its current rates are insufficient or that the pace of its capital investments is outside of the company's control."

One member of the commission disagreed with the majority. Philip Jones said, "I believe that Avista has met its burden of proof and there is ample evidence in the proceeding to render a reasoned decision on revenue requirements."