State Approves Rate Decrease For Avista Natural Gas Customers - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

State Approves Rate Decrease For Avista Natural Gas Customers

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Customers of Avista will pay less for natural gas after state regulators approved the utility's request to lower rates beginning March 1. 

The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) approved the company's request to reduce natural gas rates by 6 percent, or $3.90 for residential customers using 67 therms a month. 

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 on which the company is not allowed to collect a profit. 

An increase in supply and weak demand has led to falling prices. 

The utility distributes natural gas to customers but does not produce its own fuel. The company purchases natural gas from suppliers in Wyoming, Alberta and British Columbia and distributes it to customers in Washington and Oregon. 

Spokane-based Avista serves about 147,000 natural gas customers, primarily in Eastern Washington. 

The three-member state commission regulates the private, investor-owned 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.

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