If you’re a customer in Washington who receives a paper bill, you should have recently received (or will receive) an insert with your bill regarding Avista’s requested electric and natural gas rate increase. We filed this request with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission in January. The commission has up to 11 months to make a decision on our request. View the bill insert here
Part of the 11-month process is allowing time for public comments. This flyer, which details the request, provides you an opportunity to share your thoughts with the commission. Included is a tear-off postcard you can mail to the commission with your thoughts. Also included on the insert are the dates and times for public hearings if you’d like to attend. These notices and meetings aren’t new. Both are a part of the on-going process for setting energy prices.
The tricky part of this rate request process, which could take up to 11 months, is that you will hear about the same request in the media and from Avista several times. If you’re anything like me, you’re a busy person, who doesn’t have time to study every piece of mail that comes to your house or watch every nightly newscast. So when you hear about Avista’s rates again on the news or on the Web, it’s easy to assume that we’ve made additional requests, when in fact we’re just going through the normal public, transparent process from our previous request.
To make this even more confusing, Avista serves Idaho, Washington and Oregon customers. Each state has its own regulatory agencies with different timelines and terminology. Rate activity in one state doesn’t always apply to the others, but often the news is communicated broadly to get the word out to everyone, making it seem like it happens more often.
We also lowered natural gas prices twice this year in Idaho and Washington, and we expect to do so again later this year, if market conditions continue. So, we’ve added even more communication to the mix to let you know that rates have gone down throughout the year.
Tracking rates activity isn’t always the easiest thing to do, given the items mentioned above, but if you have specific questions, feel free to comment on this blog post in the comments section for all to see. We’ll reply to your comments on the blog to let other customers see the discussion too and hopefully join in.