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Avista Plans 7.7% Rate Increase Over Two Years for Eastern Washington Customers

(The Center Square) – Monthly Avista bills could climb in Eastern Washington later this year under the terms of an agreement being considered by state regulators. The settlement agreement, if approved, would boost Avista’s annual electric revenues by $50.5 million and annual natural gas revenues by $9 million over two years.

The agreement includes two separate increases that will raise electricity rates by 7.7% during the next two years and natural gas rates by 1.1%.

The effect of the increase would be $4.47 per month as of Dec. 1 for the average electric customer. An additional increase of about $2.24 per month would be in effect on Dec. 1, 2023.

The average residential natural gas customer would see an increase of 20 cents on a monthly bill as of Dec. 1 and an increase of 52 cents one year later.

The actual percentage increases would vary depending on the customer and levels of energy use, according to Avista.

The multiparty settlement follow’s Avista’s rate adjustment plan filed in January that initially proposed raising electric rates by 11% and natural gas rates by 4.3% over two years.

Avista said it requested higher rates recover its costs for fixed expenses as well as ongoing infrastructure and technology investments to serve its customers.

To arrive at an agreement for the settlement, Avista consulted with UTC staff, the Public Counsel Unit of the Washington Attorney General’s Office, the Alliance of Western Energy Consumers, the NW Energy Coalition, The Energy Project, Walmart, Sierra Club, and Small Business Utility Advocates, according to the company release.

All parties, aside from the Public Counsel Unit of the Washington Attorney General’s Office, agreed on settlement terms in Avista’s rate case.

Avista and parties involved in the settlement agreed to offset part of this year’s rate request with what’s called a “residual tax customer credit.” The credit is expected to incrementally return $27.6 million to electric customers and $12.5 million to natural gas customers through December 2024.