The Idaho Public Utilities Commission (PUC) last week approved the resumption of gas efficiency programs for Avista Utilities' customers in the state. Spokane, WA-based Avista's retail rates overall, however, will decrease this year because the company’s 2015 gas commodity costs were down by 14.5%, effective Nov. 1, offsetting a base rate increase of 3.5% and the efficiency program increase, both effective last Friday. Resumption of the programs now, "with natural gas prices back on an upward trend, is in the public interest," the PUC ruled. Avista gas efficiency programs offer rebates and other incentives to customers who install weatherization or high-efficiency natural gas appliances. Avista estimates that first-year (2016-17) savings in Idaho will total about 233,000 therms. The programs were suspended in 2012 when the PUC calculated that low gas prices rendered them no longer cost-effective.