Idaho regulators approve settlement regarding Avista rates

Avista (NYSE:AVA) on Dec. 29, 2017, said that it has received approval from the Idaho Public Utilities Commission on the multi-party settlement that was filed on Oct. 23, 2017, concluding the company’s electric and natural gas general rate cases filed in June 2017.

The approved rates are designed to increase annual billed electric revenues by $12.9m, or 5.6%, effective, Jan. 1, and by $4.5m, or 2.3%, effective Jan. 1, 2019, the company said.

For natural gas, the approved rates are designed to increase annual billed revenues by $1.2m, or 1.9%, effective, Jan. 1, and by $1.1m, or 1.8%, on Jan. 1, 2019, the company said.

The approved revenue increases are based on a 9.5% return on equity (ROE) with a common equity ratio of 50%, Avista said.

The company noted that a residential electric customer using an average of 910 kWh per month could expect to see:

  • A billed increase of $5.22 per month, or 5.9%, for a revised monthly bill of $93.34, effective Jan. 1, 2018. The total revised average monthly bill amount includes the effects of an increase in the basic charge of 25 cents, from $5.75 to $6 per month
  • A billed increase of $2.16 per month, or 2.3%, for a revised monthly bill of $95.50, effective Jan. 1, 2019. There would be no change to the basic charge for 2019 rates

Avista said that a residential natural gas customer using an average of 63 therms per month can expect to see:

  • A billed increase of $1.13 per month, or 2.1%, for a revised monthly bill of $53.74, effective Jan. 1, 2018. The total revised average monthly bill amount includes the effects of an increase in the basic charge of 75 cents, from $5.25 to $6 per month
  • A billed increase of $1.09 per month, or 2%, for a revised monthly bill of $54.83, effective Jan. 1, 2019. There would be no change to the basic charge for 2019 rates

As noted in the Dec. 28, 2017, commission order, Avista last June filed its application, proposing a two-year rate plan that would increase annual electric revenues by $18.6m – 7.9% on a billed basis – on Jan. 1, 2018, and $9.9m – 4.2% –on Jan. 1, 2019. The application also sought approval for the company to increase annual natural gas revenues by $3.5m – 5.7% – on Jan. 1, 2018, and $2.1m – 3.3% – on Jan. 1, 2019.

The commission added that it granted intervention to Clearwater Paper, Idaho Conservation League (ICL), Idaho Forest Group, the Community Action Partnership Association of Idaho, and Sierra Club. The parties held settlement discussions, and staff on Oct. 20, 2017, filed a proposed stipulation and settlement, as well as a motion to approve it. The settlement was signed and supported by all parties except Sierra Club and ICL, the commission added.

The signing parties agreed that the company would not file an electric or natural gas general rate case to increase base rates before May 31, 2019, and any such rates would not go into effect before Jan. 1, 2020.

The commission also said that the settlement includes several other provisions, including provisions about further studying cost of service issues and convening a working group to consider funding increases for the Low-Income Weatherization and Energy Conservation Education Programs.

The commission said: “Based on our review of the record, we find that the settlement is fair, just and reasonable and we approve it. … The settlement resulted from hard bargaining and eventual agreement by a diverse group of Avista’s customers and stakeholders. It includes provisions that will benefit customers – including the stay-out provision, consideration of funding increases for low-income weatherization and conservation education, and consideration of service rules.”

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3058 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.