Avista rates to increase for electric and gas customers over two years

Published on December 15, 2022 by Chris Galford

© Shutterstock

Following a multi-party settlement and approval from the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, Avista’s electric and natural gas rates are set to rise through December 2023, with phased hikes beginning this December and again the year hence.

For customers, it will look like this: average electric users should see total monthly bill increases of $4.47 (5.2 percent) as of this month, followed by another $2.24 (2.5 percent) increase in December 2023; natural gas users will experience lower hikes, at $0.20 (0.3 percent) this year and another $0.52 (0.8 percent) per month beginning in December next year.

For the company, though, this will amount to increases in electric revenue of approximately $38 million this year and $12.5 million in 2023. From natural gas, it will gain $7.5 million this year and another $1.5 million next December. The two-year spread of charge hikes amounted to a rate of return on rate base of 7.03 percent, although an explicit return on equity, cost of debt, and capital structure were not included. The Commission approved these changes alongside a Residual Tax Customer Credit, which will provide benefits of $27.6 million for electric customers and $12.5 million for natural gas customers, reducing the overall impact of the hikes.

“We are pleased with the Commission’s decision in this case as it supports Avista’s ongoing investments in the infrastructure that serves our customers,” Dennis Vermillion, Avista president and CEO, said. “This is a positive outcome that benefits both our customers and shareholders. We take our responsibility to provide safe, reliable energy at an affordable price very seriously, and we will continue to work hard to manage our costs and identify ways to best serve our customers that contribute to keeping energy prices affordable.”

Note the above is talking in generalities: the actual percentage increase for both electric and natural gas customers, inclusive of the Residual Tax Customer Credit, will vary by several factors, including customer class and how much energy a customer uses.