News release from Nov. 19, 2010
Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission approves all-party settlement agreement
Avista received approval today from the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC) on the all-party settlement agreement, concluding the company’s electric and natural gas rate request in Washington. New customer rates will be effective Dec. 1, 2010. Avista made the requests to the WUTC on March 23, 2010 followed by an all-party settlement agreement on Aug. 25, 2010.
“Avista is committed to providing our customers with the safe, reliable energy they need at a fair price,” said Avista Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Scott L. Morris. “We are pleased the Commission recognized the need for our retail rates to reflect the increased costs necessary to operate and maintain our energy delivery system.”
The new prices reflect an overall electric increase of 7.2 percent in billed rates and a natural gas increase of 3.2 percent in billed rates. These rates are designed to increase annual electric revenues by $29.5 million and natural gas annual revenues by $4.6 million. The approved overall rate of return is 7.91 percent with a common equity ratio of 46.5 percent and a 10.2 percent return on equity.
When the new prices become effective, a residential customer will see an increase of $5.62, or 7.8 percent, for each 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity used per month. A residential natural gas customer will see an increase of $2.17, or 3.6 percent, for each 69 therms used per month. Avista serves more than 234,000 electric and nearly 147,000 natural gas customers in Washington.
Funding for Avista’s Low-Income Ratepayer Assistance Program (LIRAP), which provides energy assistance for qualifying customers, will increase by 7.4 percent or $0.71 a month for electric customers and 2.9 percent or $0.62 a month for natural gas customers. With this increase, the annual funding level for electric low-income customers will be approximately $3.3 million and approximately $1.7 million for natural gas customers.
The approval will also allow Avista to increase funding for its low-income weatherization program by $500,000 making a total of $2 million in assistance available to help qualifying customers improve the energy efficiency of their homes.