August 2016 (2)
May 2016 (1)
March 2016 (1)
February 2016 (1)
January 2016 (1)
December 2015 (1)
October 2015 (1)
August 2015 (1)
June 2015 (1)
May 2015 (1)
February 2015 (1)
January 2015 (1)
November 2014 (2)
October 2014 (2)
September 2014 (6)
August 2014 (1)
July 2014 (5)
June 2014 (1)
March 2014 (3)
February 2014 (2)
January 2014 (1)
November 2013 (3)
October 2013 (1)
August 2013 (3)
July 2013 (4)
May 2013 (4)
April 2013 (3)
March 2013 (2)
February 2013 (3)
January 2013 (4)
December 2012 (6)
November 2012 (9)
October 2012 (10)
September 2012 (9)
August 2012 (14)
July 2012 (17)
June 2012 (14)
May 2012 (13)
April 2012 (18)
March 2012 (14)
February 2012 (10)
January 2012 (12)
December 2011 (8)
November 2011 (11)
October 2011 (10)
September 2011 (13)
August 2011 (10)
July 2011 (6)
June 2011 (12)
May 2011 (8)
April 2011 (8)
March 2011 (9)
February 2011 (6)
January 2011 (9)
December 2010 (8)
November 2010 (17)
October 2010 (8)
September 2010 (12)
August 2010 (15)
July 2010 (10)
June 2010 (15)
May 2010 (9)
April 2010 (11)
March 2010 (13)
February 2010 (10)
January 2010 (14)
December 2009 (14)
November 2009 (10)
October 2009 (17)
September 2009 (20)
August 2009 (18)
July 2009 (22)
June 2009 (12)
Answering Questions
Avista Utilities
Clark Fork
Community Service
Customer Service
Energy Assistance
Energy Efficiency
Environment Facts
Hydro power
Infrastructure upgrades
Lake Coeur d'Alene
Natural Gas
Power Outages
Reliability Facts
Renewable Energy
Renewable Facts
Smart Grid
Spokane River

A conversation about our rates   

Tags: Avista Utilities, Answering Questions, Rates

Post by Dan Kolbet
I always enjoy customer comments on the blog, even if we don’t get flooded with them. I wanted to share this one from a customer named Vivian, who posted a comment on our announcement of a Washington electric rate decrease request in early January.

Vivian said: “Now, if this rate "decrease" is approved, will it be 7% off the new rate effective Jan 1st, just 43 days earlier, or will it be 7% off the old rate? It is very, very frustrating, to reduce our usage by 30 kwH/day, only to have our rates increased by 2.7%! This is on top of 3 increases for 2009. Gotta get it back some way, don't you? Frustrated, as I said.”

To which I replied: Vivian, I understand your frustration, we seem to have rate changes (up and down) a lot and it’s hard to keep track (even for me). To answer your question the requested 7% decrease in Washington would be based on the current rate being charged, which includes the increase in January. The timing isn’t very convenient, but it’s a decrease and it’s part of the regulatory process.

But the bottom line is this: This time last year a Wash. residential customer using 1000 kwh would be billed $75.94. Today its $77.14. If our decrease request is approved, the new rate would be $71.79 – down even from this time last year.

Since Avista is a regulated utility, we’re required to ask regulators for rate changes, up or down. It’s no surprise that people would rather see rates go down rather than up, but that’s challenging considering the increasing demand for energy. Sometimes we’re even required to request a rate change for various programs or adjustments based on regulatory requirements like the upcoming tariff filings in Washington and Idaho for energy efficiency programs. Sometimes the timing of rate filings is out of our control.

We’ve already stated publically that we anticipate filing a general rate case in Washington as early as the end of the first quarter 2010. General rate cases in Washington can take up to 11 months to come to resolution. (The length of a general rate case can be up to seven months in Idaho and 10 months in Oregon.)

So there is always some time in between the filing and the resolution, making both events seem independent, but they are really just bookends of the same public process. Unfortunately every filing, hearing, newspaper article, blog, TV interview or news release about a rate activity sounds like an increase and like Vivian said, that certainly can be frustrating.

So whether we’re requesting an increase or decrease; or whether it becomes effective in a few weeks or takes as much as 11 months – you’re probably like me – you want to know what impact any changes will have on your bill and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. Since regulators set our rates, we don’t know the result of our request until the state commission makes a decision. On the blog, we’ll always give you the details when we file and when a ruling by the state commission is announced.

So, don’t be surprised when you see Avista filing some type of rate activity in the future, whether it be an increase or a decrease, it’s part of the regulatory process. If you want more details about any of this stuff, we’re always here to talk with you. You can follow our rates activities online and even here on the blog.
Posted by  System Account  on  2/11/2010
0  Comments  | 0  Links to this post | Bookmark this post with:          


Add a Comment

We encourage comments on this blog, but this is a family friendly conversation, so please check out our discussion guidelines so we’re all on the same page. By submitting a comment, you agree to these terms and our Privacy Policy.  

Customers must have a My Account and be logged in to comment.
Login to My Account | Create My Account


We're hopeful that this space will encourage thought provoking and informative community discussions about issues related to our products and services. Currently you must be an Avista customer to participate in the conversation, but stay tuned. In the coming weeks we'll also provide an opportunity for non-customers to participate in this forum.