Q. What is Avista requesting?
A. Avista filed a request with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (Commission) on Feb. 9, 2015, to increase electric and natural gas base rates. The main driver in filing the requests is the continuing need to expand and replace the facilities and equipment we use every day to serve you, our customer. All requests are subject to the Commission’s review and approval.
The filing includes:
· a request for a 6.7 percent increase in revenues, primarily for capital investments
· a request to increase the monthly basic charge from $8.50 to $14.00
The bill impact for a customer using an average of 966 kilowatt hours per month would be, if approved:
· A total billed increase of $6.45 per month or 7.9 percent
· A revised monthly bill of $87.67
The filing includes:
· a request for an increase in revenues of 6.9 percent
· a request to increase the monthly basic charge from $9.00 to $12.00
The bill impact for a customer using an average of 68 therms per month would be, if approved:
· A total billed increase of $5.41 per month or 7.9 percent
· A revised monthly bill of $73.57
Q. Why is Avista requesting to increase rates?
A. The main driver in the requests is the continuing need to expand and replace the facilities and equipment we use every day to serve you, our customer. These investments include upgrades and maintenance of generation facilities, transmission and distribution equipment, natural gas pipe and information technology upgrades.
Q. When will my bill increase?
A. Once a rate request is filed, the Commission has up to 11 months to make a decision. During this time, the Commission will review our costs, review relevant data and listen to public testimony. With this information, they will approve rates they feel are reasonable and fair.
Q. Who decides if and how much my bill will increase?
A. Avista is a regulated utility which means we cannot increase or decrease rates without approval by the Commission. After reviewing Avista’s request and costs, relevant data and listening to the public, the Commission will approve rates they believe are reasonable and fair to customers and Avista.
Q. Is executive pay included in my rates?
A. Yes. Salaries and bonuses of all officers are less than one-half of a penny of every dollar paid in rates. Rate dollars go toward many things that ensure you have the energy you need, including systems that allow us to generate and purchase as well as deliver energy to customers.
Q. What do our rates pay for?
A. Rates for electric and natural gas customers cover two types of costs:
1. the cost of generating or purchasing energy
2. the cost of delivering that energy to customers
The main drivers of this rate request are continued and increased capital investments. These capital investments strengthen Avista’s ability to generate and deliver reliable energy to customers. Below are some capital projects that are included in the rate requests.
Nine Mile Powerhouse Project
We are in the midst of a multi-year project to rehabilitate the Nine Mile Powerhouse on the Spokane River, which is 107-years-old. The project is underway to replace turbine-generator units, and other equipment that will increase the generation of clean, renewable power. In 2013, the last two (of four) original turbine-generating units were removed to make way for the new, more efficient units. Work in the powerhouse to install the new units began in 2014 along with a new warehouse, barge dock and crane pad.
Customer Information System and Enterprise Asset Management System
Avista’s customer information system is the foundation of our day-to-day customer operations. The system touches all of our customers and supports traditional utility business functions, such as meter reading, customer billing, payment processing, credit, customer service orders and material management. For 20 years, the system has been meeting the needs of our customers and the company, but like pipe, wires and equipment, over time it needed to be replaced. Years of work and investment in technology led to the launch of the new system in early February 2015.
Natural Gas Pipe Replacement
Avista continues a major project to systematically replace portions of older natural gas distribution pipe. The project is replacing hundreds of miles of natural gas pipeline to support a continuation of reliable service for our customers. In 2015, work will take place across all three states we serve, including Spokane, WA, Post Falls, ID, Lewiston, ID, Medford, OR and more. Learn more about this work and view all locations scheduled for 2015 here.
Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI)
Avista continues to invest in modernizing our grid to meet current and future energy needs. In 2015, Avista is planning for the deployment of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) in Washington. This multi-year AMI project includes installing advanced meters, beginning in 2016.
Advanced meters allow for two-way communication between Avista and customers. The technology creates the foundation for future customer benefits, including faster outage detection and restoration of service, plus near real-time energy use information and energy usage alerts. These capabilities will allow customers to better understand and manage their energy use.
Learn more about the rate-making process. Watch this video. Read this one-sheet.