There was quite a bit of debate on local blogs and discussion forums today regarding our proposed electric and natural gas rate increase in Washington. I wanted to post some clarifying comments. The Public Counsel of the Washington State Attorney General’s Office sent out a news release about Avista’s rate request on Monday. I won’t go into the details of the release. If you’d like to read it, you can find it on the AG’s website.
The role of the Pubic Counsel is to advocate for customers like you in rate cases, but they don’t have any regulatory decision making powers. The regulatory review process helps insure reasonable and fair rates and the reliable and sustainable delivery of power. The decisions on energy prices remain with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, which holds Avista to strict regulations that insure accountability to customers. The utility commission staff also filed testimony that our regulatory folks are reviewing.
What you’re reading online this week or hearing on the news is part of the normal, transparent process when a rate request is filed. We originally filed this request in January, and the recent news from the AG’s office is a step in the process. Since it can take up to 11 months, you’ll hear about the same request multiple times. It’s good that you’re being kept apprised of the process, but it’s not a new request or “another rate increase” even though it might seem like that sometimes.
These discussions are the essence of a regulated utility. The process is transparent, open and customers are welcome to weigh in through the AG’s office, the WUTC or Avista.
Customers understandably are concerned with their monthly costs, and that’s the reason behind the process mentioned above. It insures that the prices we charge you are fair.
Want to share your thoughts? Post a comment to this blog. Click on "comments" and sign in.