Idaho regulators have begun investigating proposed natural gas and electric generation rate increases for Spokane, WA-based Avista Utilities, which serves 122,500 retail electric customers and 74,200 gas customers in the northern part of the state. Avista is seeking a 3.7%, or $9 million, annual electric rate hike and a 2.7%, or $1.9 million, increase annually on the gas side. Overall, Avista is asking for an 8.49% rate of return and a 10.9% return on equity. The utility asked for an Aug. 5 effective date and the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (PUC)suspended the gas and electric increase requests for six month to allow time for the PUC’s standard review. In the meantime, Avista’s Idaho customers will see rate hikes Oct. 1 — 3.9% on the power side and 0.72% for gas — based on the second-year payment of a settlement for Avista’s general rate case last year. The earlier case increased electric rates 9.25% and gas 1.9% over a two-year period for Avista.
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