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Avista Files for Electric/Gas Rate Hikes in Idaho

Avista Files for Electric/Gas Rate Hikes in Idaho

With more than $200 million in added utility infrastructure investment in the state, Spokane, WA-based Avista Corp. filed with Idaho regulators Friday for a combined $23.7 million in rate increases to cover its electricity and natural gas utility operations serving 109,000 and 62,000 power and gas customers respectively.

The company said it is seeking its first general rate increases for electric and gas in Idaho since 1999 and 1990, respectively.

With about 30% of its annual retail utility revenues coming from its Idaho operations, Avista is seeking to increase its electric rates $18.9 million annually, or 11%, and its gas rates by $4.8 million annually, or 9.2%. The Idaho Public Utilities Commission generally takes about seven months to process general rate cases, Avista said in announcing its filing.

Avista said it has invested $73 million in its natural gas system since the last general rate increase. In addition, Avista's current natural gas rates in Idaho are based on the company's 1987 operating costs.

The average impact on retail customers will be monthly hikes of about $8 for electricity and $5.50 for gas. Avista is also proposing increases in both the electric and gas retail monthly customer charges (from $4 to $5 for power; and $3.28 to $5 for gas).

"Our filing reflects the company's efforts to ensure long-term and reliable energy supplies for our customers," said Scott Morris, Avista Utilities president, who said the company has made "significant investments" in new infrastructure for both gas and electric service. The company continues to focus on "owning or controlling" more than 100% of its retail electric demand.

"Our focus has been on controlling our own destiny and reducing reliance on potentially volatile energy markets," Morris said.

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