Avista seeks decreases in gas, electric efficiency riders - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Avista seeks decreases in gas, electric efficiency riders

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Posted: Friday, July 8, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 9:42 am, Fri Nov 16, 2012.

Avista Utilities, which operates in North Idaho, is asking the Idaho Public Utilities Commission to approve its applications for reductions to efficiency riders that appear on the bills of the utility's electric and natural gas customers.

The gas and electric efficiency riders are separate line items on customer bills, apart from the base rates.

"The case should not be confused with pending applications from Avista to increase gas and electric base rates," a press release said.

The reduction in the riders would result in an average overall gas bill reduction of about 4.2 percent and about 0.3 percent in electric bills.

Revenue from the riders is used to fund about 30 electric and natural gas efficiency programs. Avista estimates that during 2010, energy efficiency programs resulted in electric savings of 68,911 megawatt-hours - 105 percent of the company goal - and natural gas savings of about 1.9 million therms - 85 percent of the company goal.

Avista reports that the rider balance in the electric account, with a rider of 0.258 cents per kWh for residential electric customers, is $723,240. Avista proposes to decrease the electric rider to 0.252 cents per kWh.

The balance in the natural gas account is $897,808. Avista proposes to decrease the gas rider from 5.7 cents per therm to 1.9 cents per therm. The decreases, if approved, would be effective Aug. 1.

Revenue collected from the riders can go only toward efficiency programs and cannot be used for other purposes such as salaries or increasing company's earnings, the release said.

The programs that the riders fund must pass three cost-effectiveness tests that demonstrate that, without the programs in place, customers would be paying more for electric and natural gas service. Programs that are not cost-effective are removed from the rider.

The commission is taking comments on Avista's applications through July 19. Comments are accepted via e-mail by accessing the commission's homepage at www.puc.idaho.gov and clicking on "Comments & Questions About a Case."

Fill in the case numbers (AVU-E-11-02 and AVU-G-11-03) and enter your comments. Comments can also be mailed to P.O. Box 83720, Boise, ID 83720-0074 or faxed to (208) 334-3762.

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