Avista seeks gas rate decrease

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Avista on Monday filed Purchased Gas Cost Adjustment requests with the utility commissions in Washington and Idaho to reduce overall natural gas prices by 6.4 percent and 6 percent respectively, to be effective March 1.

If the request is approved by the Idaho Public Utilities Commission, an Idaho customer using an average of 62 therms per month would see a $3.46, or 5.7 percent, decrease for a revised monthly bill of $57.50. Idaho commercial customers could expect decreases of 7.3 percent for large general service schedule 111 and 9.7 percent for interruptible sales service schedule 131. Avista has approximately 149,000 natural gas customers in Washington and 76,000 in Idaho.

If the request is approved by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, a residential customer in Washington using an average of 67 therms per month would see a decrease of $3.90, or 6.0 percent, for a revised monthly bill of $60.73. Washington commercial customers could expect decreases of 7.6 percent for large general service schedule 111, 8.2 percent for extra large general service schedule 121 and 9.5 percent for interruptible sales service schedule 131.

"We know many of our customers are concerned about expenses in this economy, and we want to pass these price decreases on to them as quickly as we can," said Dennis Vermillion, president of Avista Utilities. "The increase in natural gas supply, along with continuing soft demand, is creating the current environment of falling natural gas prices."

PGA filings are usually made annually in the fall to pass through changes in the cost of natural gas Avista acquires to serve customers.

The direct cost of natural gas makes up about 65 percent of an Avista customer's bill, and this cost can fluctuate up and down based on market prices.

If approved by the WUTC, overall revenues from Washington customers would decrease by $9.9 million, and if approved by the IPUC, overall revenues from Idaho customers would decrease by $4.1 million.

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