State utility commission thinks Avista rate increases too high

(STAFF REPORTS/Chewelah Independent)

Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission staff members are asking the state commission not to approve rate increases submitted by Avista Utilities, The Inlander is reporting. In April, the utilities company went to the commission asking if they could increase rates by an average of $7.93 per month for electricity and $4.60 per month for natural gas.

This equals out to an 8.8 percent increase in electricity rates for customers the first year and 3.4 percent the second year. For natural gas it would be a 10.1 percent increase the first year and 4.6 percent the second year.

UTC suggested rate increases equal out to a $4.72 per month for electricity and a $2.97 per month for natural gas.

Of the 90 comments on the proposed increase submitted to the comission, 89 of those were against the higher rates.

Some critics of the rate increases have said that Avista should use the money from its failed merger with Hydro One to help keep rates from going up.

Comments can also be submitted online at; by mail to P.O. Box 47250, Olympia, WA, 98504; by email to; or by calling 1-888-333-9882.