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Avista rates increased Jan. 1 due to settlement



— A rate increase took effect Jan. 1 for Avista Utilities electric and natural gas service as a result of a settlement adopted by the Idaho Public Utilities Commission.

Electric rates rose by an average of 5.6 percent Jan. 1, and natural gas rates increased by 2.3 percent – significantly less than the company had proposed in a two-year rate plan submitted to the commission in April.

Avista initially proposed electric rate increases of 7.9 percent in 2018 and 4.2 percent in 2019, and increases to natural gas rates of 5.7 percent in 2018 and 3.3 percent in 2019.

The settlement calls for electric rates to increase by 2.3 percent in 2019, when natural gas rates will rise by 1.8 percent.

In its application, Avista asserted a rate increase was needed in part to replace and upgrade its aging infrastructure. An increase in power supply costs also was a factor, the company said, as was a drop in electric consumption in two customer classes.

For a residential electric customer using an average of 910 kilowatt-hours per month, the settlement will lead to an increase of $5.22 per month, for a monthly bill of $93.34, as of Jan. 1, 2018. That includes a 25-cent increase to the basic charge, raising it to $6 per month.

The same customer will see an increase of $2.16 per month in 2019.

For natural gas service, the rate increase that took effect Jan. 1 will lead to a monthly increase of $1.13 for a residential customer using an average of 63 therms per month, raising the monthly bill to $53.74. That includes a 75-cent increase to the basic charge, raising it to $6 per month.

The same customer will see an increase of $1.09 per month in 2019.

The company’s initial request would have increased the monthly bill for that customer by $3.37 in 2018 and $2.07 in 2019.

The settlement may be petitioned for reconsideration with the commission, deadline for which is Jan. 18.



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