WA-based Avista Utilities's natural gas and electric customers in Idaho on Monday will get a surprise of a small rate increase prompted by the reduction by the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (PUC) of two rate credits consumers have been receiving.

Gas customers face an average 4.5% increase and their residential electric counterparts will see their monthly credit drop from 0.289 cents/kWh to 0.147 cents/kWh, essentially cutting the power credit in half.

The latest rate change comes on top of the PUC granting earlier rate increases for Avista's customers Oct. 1 (see Daily GPI, Oct. 4).

On the gas side, the PUC reduced the size of Avista's annual purchased gas cost adjustment (PGA) and that will increase the gas rates by an average of 4.5%, or about $2.53/month.

This comes at a time when Avista's weighted average cost of gas is decreasing from 49.1 cents/therm to 45.8 cents/therm because of a continuing decline in wholesale gas prices. Avista's PGA is moved up or down annually based on what happens to wholesale gas commodity and transportation prices.

Electric customers are taking a hit of a $1.42/month increase because of a recent settlement between the utility and Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), which offers a credit to investor-owned utilities' residential and small farm customers as a way of sharing the cheap federal dam-produced power supplies in the region.

The settlement reduced the credit to comply with a 2007 federal court decision reallocating much of the credit to customers of publicly owned utilities (see Power Market Today, May 27, 2007) and also to settle some outstanding accounts Avista had with BPA.

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