Staff members of the Utilities and Transportation Commission recommended rejecting Avista Utilities’ requested electric and natural gas rate increase, proposing a smaller increase instead.
Commission energy staff recommended the smaller increases to electric and natural gas rates in a proposed two-year rate plan 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.
Under staff’s proposal, 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 company’s original proposal would increase the average residential electric customer’s bill by $7.93, for an average monthly bill of $89.14 and also raise the average residential natural gas customer’s bill by $4.60, for an average monthly bill of $51.
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 in April 2020.
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.