Avista proposes electric, natural gas rate increases for 2020-2021

SPOKANE, Wash. - Avista has submitted a proposal for electric and natural gas rate increases to the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission. The proposal includes a two-year rate plan, with new, increased rates taking effect April 1, 2020 and April 1, 2021. 

In a release, Avista said the rate requests were filed to recover costs related to investments in infrastructure, system maintenance and technology. If approved, the plan would create a stay out period where the utility company could not file a new general rate case for new rates to be effective prior to April 1, 2022. 

The proposal outlined rate increases for both electric and natural gas. The electric general rate request would increase rates by 8.8 percent effective April 1, 2020 and then 3.3 percent effective April 1, 2021. Avista estimated the annual billed revenues would increase by $45.8 million the first year and $18.9 million the second year. 

For natural gas, if approved, the rate request would increase rates by 10.1 percent effective April 1, 2020 and 4.6 percent effective April 1, 2021. Avista estimated this would generate $19.4 million over the course of two years. 

“We’re making significant investments in our infrastructure and systems every year to maintain, upgrade and ensure the safety, reliability and resiliency of the equipment and facilities that serve our customers every day,” said Avista President Dennis Vermillion. 

That would include inspecting and replacing thousands of power poles each year, replacing natural gas pipe, upgrading transmission lines, enhancing cybersecurity and upgrading hydroelectric turbines and generators in the Little Falls dam. 

“While we make these investments for the benefit of our customers, we recognize that rate increases can be a hardship. As we make decisions about how and where to invest across the company, our customers are our primary focus. We take our responsibility to provide safe, reliable energy at an affordable price very seriously, and we work hard to manage our costs and identify ways to best serve our customers that contribute to keeping energy prices low,” said Vermillion. 

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