Idaho regulators to host public hearing July 14 on Avista rate cases

Parties to the case have proposed a settlement with a two-year rate plan, the commission said

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission on July 2 said that it will host a telephonic public hearing on July 14 to take testimony on a proposed rate increase for Avista natural gas and electric customers in Idaho.

Parties to the case have proposed a settlement with a two-year rate plan that, if approved by the commission, would allow the company to increase annual base electric revenues by $10.6m, or 4.3%, effective Sept. 1, 2021, and increase annual base electric revenues by $8m, or 3.1%, effective Sept. 1, 2022.

The commission added that for natural gas, the parties agree that Avista should be allowed to decrease natural gas base revenue by $1.6m, or 3.7%, effective Sept. 1, 2021, and increase natural gas base revenue by $0.9m, or 2.2%, effective Sept. 1, 2022.

Through the settlement agreement, the parties also agree to return to customers available tax credits of about $31.3m for electric over the two-year rate plan and $12.1m for natural gas over 10 years, the commission said.

If the settlement is approved, a residential electric customer using an average of 892 kWh per month would see a billed increase of 49 cents per month, or 0.6%, effective Sept. 1, 2021, and a billed increase of 31 cents per month, or 0.4%, effective Sept. 1, 2022, the commission said. A residential natural gas customer using an average of 63 therms per month would see a billed decrease of $2.30 per month, or 4.6%, effective Sept. 1, 2021, and a billed increase of 76 cents per month, or 1.6%, effective Sept. 1, 2022, the commission noted.

Avista’s original proposal called for an increase in rates for electric customers and natural gas customers over a two-year period, the commission said, adding that in the first year, for instance, Avista proposed to increase electric revenues by $24.8m, or 10.1%, and natural gas revenues by $0.1m, or 0.1%, beginning Sept. 1, 2021. Avista originally requested an increase in the second year of $8.7m, or 3.2%, for electric customers, and $1m, or 2.2%, for natural gas customers, the commission said. Avista’s original request also proposed to offset the proposed rate increases with available tax credits, similar to the settlement agreement, the commission noted.

Written comments on the proposed rate increases are due by the close of business on Aug. 3, the commission said, adding that comments must be filed by e-mail unless it is unavailable through the commission’s website, puc.idaho.gov (case numbers AVU-G-21-01 (natural gas) and AVU-E-21-01 (electric)).

Among other things, the commission said that the telephonic hearing will begin at 6 p.m. (PDT), and that those interested in submitting verbal testimony are asked to call 1-415-655-0001, and enter passcode 133 481 5766 when prompted. Those planning on testifying are encouraged to join the hearing at 5:45 p.m. (PDT), the commission said.

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Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 16 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.