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Natural Gas Customers

Did you know that more than half of your monthly natural gas bill is the cost of purchasing natural gas on the wholesale natural gas market and transporting it to our system for delivery to you? The rest of your bill covers our fixed costs for delivering that natural gas to your home or business. The wholesale cost of natural gas is passed through directly to you – we do not mark up the cost. Read more about how this works on our blog.

One of our strategies to help lessen the impact of fluctuating wholesale natural gas prices on our customers is to purchase and store natural gas in an underground storage facility. Avista is a joint owner in the Jackson Prairie natural gas storage facility located in Chehalis, Washington.

This facility allows us to purchase natural gas during times when prices are lower and withdraw the gas to serve customers during the winter months when market prices are typically higher.

Washington

On December 26, 2012, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC) approved our multi-party settlement, concluding the general rate requests filed on April 2, 2012. New rates took effect on January 1, 2013. Read our news release here.

  • Beginning January 1, 2013, natural gas customers in Washington saw an overall 3.6 percent increase.
  • Beginning January 1, 2014, natural gas customers in Washington will see an additional overall 0.9 percent increase.

As part of the settlement, we’ve agreed not to request additional general rate increases that would take effect before January 1, 2015. This doesn’t mean we wouldn’t adjust rates based on wholesale natural gas costs before then (remember, that’s a separate part of your bill). For more information about how we adjust those costs, read our Natural Gas Pricing 101 series.

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.

Bill Impact

  • Beginning January 1, 2013, the first 70 therms of your bill actually costs a little less. This means an average monthly bill for 68 therms decreased by about 38 cents to $60.37. For every therm you use over 70, you’ll see an increase of about 10 cents. So, if your usage is less than 70 therms a month, through energy efficiency efforts, for example, you will really see the benefit of this change.
  • Beginning January 1, 2014, if you use an average of 68 therms a month, you will see an increase of 57 cents a month, or about 2 cents a day, for a revised monthly bill of $60.94.

Idaho

Rising delivery costs – the equipment and people it takes to safely and reliably deliver natural gas to your home or business – are also the primary reason for the natural gas rate increase request we filed with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission on October 11, 2012.

On February 6, 2013, Avista and other parties in the company’s electric and natural gas general rate filings reached a settlement agreement that, if approved by the Idaho Public Utilities Commission, would conclude our general rate requests filed in October. Read more about this on our Avista blog.

If the settlement is approved, Idaho natural gas customers would see two rate adjustments:

  • Beginning April 1, 2013, Idaho natural gas customers would see an overall net rate increase of 4.9 percent.
  • Beginning October 1, 2013, Idaho natural gas customers would see an overall net rate increase of 0.3 percent.

As part of the settlement, we’ve agreed not to request additional general rate increases that would take effect before January 1, 2015. This doesn’t mean we wouldn’t adjust rates based on wholesale natural gas costs before then. For more information about how we adjust those costs, read our Natural Gas Pricing 101.

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.

Bill Impact

  • If the Commission approves the settlement and you’re a natural gas customer in Idaho using an average of 60 therms per month, you would see an increase of $2.82 for a revised monthly bill of $55.37 beginning April 1, 2013.
  • Beginning October 1, 2013, you would see an additional increase of $0.31 per month, for a revised monthly bill of $55.68.

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