The cost of energy itself (generating or purchasing) makes up about 60 percent of the cost customers pay each month. So, when those costs go up, it makes a significant impact on rates. To help work through this topic we created the video, “Power Supply: What’s Driving Rates.”
Avista generates about 93 percent of the power customers use with our own hydro, biomass, natural gas and coal generation resources. The additional power our customers need comes from resources owned by other Northwest producers via some long-term, low-cost contracts.
The demand for electricity continues to increase, so when those long-term contracts expire, as they have and will continue to do so over the next several years, we have to replace that low-cost electricity with reliable, but more expensive power.
Today, the commodity portion of a customer’s bill is about 4 and one half cents a kilowatt-hour for electricity. But, as those long-term contracts expire, the replacement power will cost between 7 and 11 cents, depending on the resource.