Avista rate hikes proposed - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Avista rate hikes proposed

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Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2013 9:30 am | Updated: 9:31 am, Thu Feb 7, 2013.

Avista's natural gas rates for the average homeowner are proposed to increase a total of $3.13 per month in two stages this year and electric rates are proposed to increase $2.04 per month on Oct. 1 under a settlement announced on Wednesday.

The settlement between Avista, Idaho Public Utilities Commission staff, Clearwater Paper Corporation, Idaho Forest Group and The Idaho Conservation League stems from the utility firm's rate requests filed last October.

The IPUC board is expected to make a decision on the proposal before April 1.

If the settlement is OK'd, natural gas rates for the average homeowner (using 60 therms a month) will increase $2.82 per month starting April 1 for a revised monthly bill of $55.37. They'd increase an additional 31 cents starting Oct. 1.

Kelly Norwood of Avista said the rate increases are driven by upgrades in facilities, including at the Post Falls Dam and in Noxon, Mont. Wooden headgates at Post Falls were recently replaced with steel ones.

"We need to replace a lot of worn out equipment," Norwood said. 

Some of the upgrades were directed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission during the dam relicensing process.

Norwood said he can't remember when an Avista two-stage rate increase was last proposed in Idaho, but one in Washington is underway and others have been approved at other Idaho utilities.

"We expect them to become more common," Norwood said.

Norwood said part of the reason for the tiered increase with natural gas was to ease the burden on ratepayers. Avista also needs to start recouping its upgrade costs earlier on the gas side than with electric users.

The settlement states that Avista can't have any more base rate hikes before Jan. 1, 2015.

"This doesn’t mean we wouldn’t adjust rates based on power supply or wholesale natural gas costs before then," wrote Avista's Anna Scarlett. "But what it does mean is that you’ll have more certainty in your energy rates for the next two years, so you can better plan to manage your energy costs. And your energy prices will still be among the lowest in the nation."

The IPUC will establish a schedule to gather comments on the settlement from parties to the rate case and Avista customers prior to making a decision. Information: www.puc.state.id.us

  • Discuss

Welcome to the discussion.


  • skunkworks posted at 11:22 pm on Fri, Feb 8, 2013.

    skunkworks Posts: 252

    Where's "Tesla" when you need him........

  • bionic man posted at 2:24 pm on Fri, Feb 8, 2013.

    bionic man Posts: 347

    truthful...you must be one of the beneficiaries

    It's typical with all utilities, fuel, school administrators...........they all want more so they can raise their pay and benefits.

    Won't see it in my lifetime, but the day will come where the big execs will all be taken out and things will stabilize

  • truthful1 posted at 2:04 pm on Fri, Feb 8, 2013.

    truthful1 Posts: 554

    no one *has* to be an avista customer. You can always disconnect and take of it on your own - self-sufficiency is something you all aspire too, correct?

  • Veeeee posted at 5:43 am on Fri, Feb 8, 2013.

    Veeeee Posts: 389

    2011 pay and bonuses for Avista execs, (what was their 2012 pay?)

    Scott Morris (chairman, CEO)
    Mark Thies (senior VP)
    Dennis Vermillion (senior VP)
    Marian Durkin (senior VP)
    Karen Feltes (senior VP)

  • mister d posted at 8:58 pm on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    mister d Posts: 1531

    Gotta love the monopolies. They sure look out for and care about their customers, don't they.

  • greyhound2 posted at 7:14 pm on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    greyhound2 Posts: 751

    Looks like the "appointed" bought-and-paid-for-stooge rubber-stamp commisssioners can now get off their knees as the for-profit-monpoly scrored another dividend payment for Wall Street vultures with paychecks for Avista top executives in the mail. And the best part is that non-stop airline flights to Hawaii just began out of Spokane this week, so pack your bags for fun in the sun! Screw the peasants.

  • NAS4AH2 posted at 2:51 pm on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    NAS4AH2 Posts: 71

    It's like beating vampires with these guys. When will it end?

  • voxpop posted at 12:00 pm on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    voxpop Posts: 738

    Natural gas is at historic lows and boardroom pay is through the roof. Not too hard to figure out what is really going on. Shouldn't maintenance be paid for from current rates and profits?

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