North Idaho customers of Avista Utilities are getting reductions to both their electric and natural gas bills effective Oct. 1.
The Idaho Public Utilities Commission approved three Avista applications that reduce rates largely due to declining natural gas prices. Combined, rates for natural gas customers decrease by about 5.6 percent and electric rates about 1.3 percent.
A fourth application, a proposed 2.1 percent reduction to Avista's annual Power Cost Adjustment surcharge, is expected to be ruled on soon.
The largest decrease, about 3 percent, comes from Avista's annual Purchased Gas Cost Adjustment.
Avista said costs associated with providing gas supply for customers vary from year to year as the wholesale price of natural gas and transportation-related expenses change.
Natural gas utilities in Idaho file a PGA at least yearly to account for those changing prices.
Overall, prices today are lower than they were in 2011. Consequently, the company will reduce by $2.14 million the amount it collects in its PGA account. Another $1.55 million of an un-refunded credit balance will be used to offset a potential rate increase next April. Avista has filed a notice with the commission to file a combined electric and natural gas base rate case on or after Oct. 10 for proposed new rates that, if adopted, would be effective in April.
A second gas rate decrease, 2.6 percent, is attributable to the temporary suspension of programs to fund natural gas efficiency programs.