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Washington Filing FAQ

Q. What is Avista requesting?


A. On May 26, 2017, Avista filed two requests with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC or Commission) to recover costs related to power supply as well as infrastructure, system maintenance, and technology. If approved, these filings would change the price customers pay for the energy they use.


The first filing is called a power cost rate adjustment filing, which is electric only. Avista purchases electricity to serve customers and also purchases natural gas to fuel generating plants that provide power for customers. This request would update and reset Avista’s power supply costs that are included in customer rates.


The second filing includes electric and natural general rate cases primarily driven by continued infrastructure and system maintenance and other capital investments.

All requests to change energy prices will be reviewed by the Commission, who then sets rates.




Natural Gas

Power Cost Rate Adjustment

·         Effective Sept. 1, 2017.

·         Billed increase of $2.58 or 3.1 percent per month.

·         Based on average usage of 938 kilowatt hours per month.

·         Expires at conclusion of general rate case, if approved.


General Rate Requests

·         Effective May 1, 2018.

·         Billed increase of $8.05 or 9.2 percent per month.

·         Based on average usage of 938 kilowatt hours per month.

·         This is inclusive of the approval and expiration of the power cost rate adjustment.


·         Effective May 1, 2018.

·         Billed increase of $3.25 or 5.6 percent per month.

·         Based on average usage of 65 therms per month.




Q. Why is Avista requesting to change energy prices?

A. These requests are made to align customer rates with Avista’s costs of providing service to our customers.


Power Cost Rate Adjustment

The key drivers behind this request are related to expiration of a valuable wholesale sales contract with another utility and an increase in natural gas prices to fuel our generating plants. Updated power supply costs were not approved by the Commission in January 2017, as requested by Avista.


General Rate Request

The main drivers of this rate request are ongoing capital investments. These include upgrades and maintenance of generation facilities, transmission and distribution equipment, natural gas, pipe, and technology.


Our rates are cost-based, meaning that the costs included in customer rates reflect the costs of the equipment when installed decades ago. When we replace or update old equipment with new equipment, it can cost many times more than when it was installed. This is the primary reason for our rate requests.


Q. When would my bill change?

A. The Commission will decide when and if bills will change. We have requested that the power cost adjustment take effect on Sept. 1, 2017. Once a general rate request is filed, the Commission has up to 11 months to make a decision. During this time, the Commission will review our costs, review relevant information and listen to the public. With this information, they will set rates they believe are reasonable and fair.  


The general rate request proposes a three-year plan, with new rates taking effect May 1, 2018 and annual increases in May 2019 and May 2020. This plan would create a stay-out period where Avista would not file a new general rate case for a new rate plan to be effective prior to May 1, 2021.This would provide customers with some predictability in their expected future energy prices.


Q. Who decides if and how much my bill will change?

A. Avista is a regulated utility which means we cannot change energy rates on our own. The utility Commission sets the rates customers pay for the energy they use. After reviewing Avista’s request and costs, relevant data and listening to the public, the Commission will set rates they believe are reasonable and fair to customers and Avista.


Q. Is executive pay included in my energy bill?

A. Yes. Salaries and bonuses of corporate officers are less than one-half of a penny of every dollar paid in rates, or about 47 cents per month. Customer rate dollars go toward many things that ensure you have the energy you need, including systems that allow us to generate and purchase as well as deliver energy to customers.


Q. What do our rates pay for?

A. Rates for electric and natural gas customers cover two types of costs:

1.    the cost of generating or purchasing energy

2.    the cost of delivering that energy to customers


The main drivers of the general rate request are continued and increased capital investments. These capital investments strengthen Avista’s ability to generate and deliver reliable energy to customers. Below are some examples of infrastructure and system investments that are included in the requests.


·         The ongoing and multi-year redevelopment of the 107-year-old Little Falls Powerhouse on the Spokane River to increase generation reliability. Work continues to replace the remaining two of four generating units and replace and modernize the plant equipment.

·         Continuing rehabilitation of the 109-year-old Nine Mile Powerhouse on the Spokane River, which includes upgrades to two of the generating units, work on the intake gates and a redesigned sediment bypass system.

·         Generator maintenance at the Kettle Falls biomass plant on equipment at the end of its expected life that will ensure uninterrupted and efficient generation and operations.

·         The ongoing project to systematically replace portions of natural gas distribution pipe, including hundreds of miles of natural gas distribution lines in Avista’s service area that were installed prior to 1987 as well as replacement of other natural gas service equipment.

·         Transmission and distribution system and asset maintenance, such as wood pole replacements, feeder upgrades, substation and transmission line rebuilds and replacement/repair of equipment that is no longer operating as it should to maintain reliability for our customers. 

·         Technology upgrades that support necessary business processes and operational efficiencies that allow Avista to effectively manage the utility and serve customers. We’re also completely refreshing our website so that it is easier to use, provides relevant information and is easily accessible on mobile devices. Earlier this year we implemented a new payment experience through the website that has streamlined this process for thousands of customers.



Learn more about how your prices are set and what your dollars pay for, here.

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