OLYMPA, Wash. - Customers of Avista Utilities will pay a little more for electricity and natural gas after state regulators allowed the utility to adjust two bill credits that will increase energy rates beginning Nov. 1st.
The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) approved Avista's request to pass through the natural gas costs that will result in a slight increase in rates by nearly 5 percent, or $3 for residential customers using 69 therms a month.
The other bill credit involves a decrease in the federal power benefits passed through to Avista's residential and small farm customers under the Bonneville Power Administration's (BPA) Residential Exchange Program. As a result, average residential customers using 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity a month will see their bills go up by almost 2 percent, or $1.42.
Natural gas companies are required to adjust rates periodically to reflect changes in wholesale prices. About two-thirds of an Avista customer's monthly bill is attributable to the cost of natural gas of which the company is not allowed to collect a profit.
Spokane-based Avista serves more than 232,000 electric and 146,000 natural gas customers, primarily in Eastern Washington.
The three-member commission is the state agency in charge of regulating the private, investor-owned electric and natural gas utilities in Washington. It is the commission's responsibility to ensure regulated companies provide safe and reliable service to customers at reasonable rates, while allowing them the opportunity to earn a fair profit.