Avista requests electric and natural gas rate changes in Washington
"Our customers expect their energy to be there when they need it, and so do we. To meet these expectations, we're continually investing in our systems in an effort to maintain reliability and deliver value, at a reasonable cost for customers," Avista Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer
These investments include the rehabilitation of
The company is also enhancing its customers' experience with Avista by adding new technology, said Morris. Through the mobile application launched in 2016, customers can easily access the information they need about power outages and restoration. Avista is in the process of completely refreshing its website so that it is easier to use, provides relevant information, and is easily accessible on mobile devices. As a part of this project, the company earlier this year implemented a new payment experience through the website that has streamlined this process for thousands of customers, Morris noted.
"While electric base rates for our customers have not increased since January of 2015, we understand that price adjustments can be a challenge. This is a key consideration as we make decisions about how and where to invest. These requests not only help to more closely align customer rates with Avista's costs of providing service, they also support the opportunity to earn a fair return for our shareholders, especially given that needed rate adjustments were not approved in the 2016 case," Morris said.
The two rate filings are summarized below:
Power Cost Rate Adjustment Filing
Avista filed a power cost rate adjustment that would update and reset power supply costs included in billed rates. If approved by the Commission, the request is designed to increase revenue by
- The expiration on
Dec. 31, 2016, of a long-term contract with Portland General Electricthat was providing approximately $8 millionin net benefits that Avista is no longer receiving, but which Avista is still passing on to customers through the current level of retail rates.
- Updated contract rates related to Chelan County PUD and Palouse Wind Power Purchase Agreements, pursuant to the original contract terms, and natural gas transportation contracts, all of which increase power costs for Avista by approximately
- Updated market and short-term contract prices that increase power supply costs for Avista by approximately
If approved, this adjustment would expire at the conclusion of the general rate case also filed today.
General Rate Case Filing
Avista also filed requests to increase electric and natural gas rates, primarily driven by ongoing capital investments. If approved, the electric general rate request is designed to increase annual revenues by
For natural gas, if approved, the general rate request is designed to increase annual billed revenues by
Three-Year Rate Plan
The proposal is a three-year rate plan, with new rates taking effect
|Electric Billed Revenue Increase||Natural Gas Billed Revenue Increase|
|Rate year 1 May 1, 2018 - April 30, 2019||8.8 percent||5.4 percent|
|Rate year 2 May 1, 2019 - April 30, 2020||2.4 percent||2.6 percent|
|Rate year 3 May 1, 2020 - April 30, 2021||2.5 percent||2.7 percent|
In the proposal, power supply costs would be updated each year, and the electric rate adjustments effective
The electric and natural gas requests for the May 2018-
Avista's capital investment plans address the need to replace infrastructure that has reached the end of its useful life, as well as respond to the need for reliability and technology investments required to build the integrated energy services grid that will take us into the future.
In addition to the major hydroelectric investments at
- Generator maintenance at the
Kettle Fallsbiomass plant that will ensure efficient generation and operations.
- The ongoing project to systematically replace portions of natural gas distribution pipe 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, and substation and transmission line rebuilds 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.
Residential Customer Bills
Power Cost Rate Adjustment
General Rate Case
For natural gas, if the request is approved, a residential natural gas customer using an average of 65 therms per month could expect to see a bill increase of
The actual percentage increase for individual electric and natural gas customers would depend on how much energy a customer uses.
Avista serves more than 246,000 electric and nearly 156,800 natural gas customers in
Additional information about Avista's rate request and energy prices is available at www.avistautilities.com/warates.
To assist customers in managing their energy bills, Avista offers services for customers such as comfort level billing, payment arrangements and Customer Assistance Referral and Evaluation Services (CARES), which provide assistance to special-needs customers through referrals to area agencies and churches for help with housing, utilities, medical assistance and other needs. Avista also provides funding for energy assistance programs Project Share and the company's Low Income Rate Assistance Program, which are administered through community action agencies.
Avista provides energy efficiency and outreach programs that include rebates and incentives as well as tips and resources to help customers manage their energy use and energy bills. Customers can learn more at www.avistautilities.com.
This news release contains forward-looking statements regarding the company's current expectations. Forward-looking statements are all statements other than historical facts. Such statements speak only as of the date of the news release and are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond the company's control, which could cause actual results to differ materially from the expectations. These risks and uncertainties include, in addition to those discussed herein, all of the factors discussed in the company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended