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Spokane, Wash., October 5// -- The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC) will host a public meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 11 from 5 to 7 p.m. on the proposed settlement of Avista's general rate case. The meeting will be held at the Ramada Inn Spokane Airport, 8909 Airport Rd.
On Aug. 12, 2005, Avista reached an agreement with three of the five other parties involved in the case to reduce the originally requested electric increase from $35.8 million annually to $22.1 million and the natural gas increase from $2.9 million annually to $1.0 million.
The parties agreeing to the settlement are Avista, the WUTC Staff, The Energy Project (representing low-income assistance agencies), and Northwest Industrial Gas Users. The Public Counsel Section of the Washington State Attorney General's Office and the Industrial Customers of Northwest Utilities are opposing the settlement. The agreement asks for the settlement to become effective Jan. 1, 2006.
Under the settlement agreement, the overall increase in base electric rates would be 7.7 percent, down from Avista's original request to increase base electric rates by 12.5 percent. Natural gas rates would increase by 0.6 percent with the settlement, down from Avista's original request to increase base natural gas rates by 1.8 percent. The bill for a residential electric customer with average usage would increase about $5.22 a month, and natural gas bills for the average customer would rise by about 58 cents monthly.
The settlement also includes an additional 1 percent increase to electric rates associated with a power cost surcharge already in effect.
In recognition of the impact energy price increases have on limited income customers, Avista would increase limited income demand side management or energy conservation funding by $200,000 for a total of $1.1 million annually and would also provide an additional $600,000 annually for two years to the Low Income Rate Assistance Program (LIRAP) in Washington, raising the company's annual funding level to $3.6 million. The increased LIRAP funding would be evaluated at the end of the two-year period. Changes would also be adopted to increase limited-income agencies' administrative flexibility in operating LIRAP and demand side management programs.
Those unable to attend the Oct. 11 meeting in person may contact the WUTC by writing to: WUTC, P.O. Box 47250, Olympia, WA, 98504; by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by fax at (360) 664- 4291, or toll-free at (800) 562-6150. For more information visit the WUTC Web page at www.wutc.wa.gov. Reference comments with your name and mailing address, the name of the company (Avista), and Docket Nos. UE-050482 /UG-050483 and Docket UE-011595. The Public Counsel Section of the Washington State Attorney General will represent the public. The Public Counsel Section can be reached at (206) 464-6907, or by writing to Attorney General Office, 900 4th Avenue, Suite 2000, Seattle, WA 98164-1012, or by email at email@example.com.
Approximately 70 percent of the company's annual retail electric and natural gas revenues are derived from Washington where the company serves approximately 220,000 electric customers and 135,000 natural gas customers.
Avista Corp. is an energy company involved in the production, transmission and distribution of energy as well as other energy-related businesses. Avista Utilities is a company operating division that provides service to 330,000 electric and 285,000 natural gas customers in three western states. Avista's non-regulated subsidiaries include Avista Advantage and Avista Energy. Avista Corp.'s stock is traded under the ticker symbol "AVA." For more information about Avista, please visit www.avistacorp.com.
Avista Corp. and the Avista Corp. logo are trademarks of Avista Corporation.
Note: That same evening, Oct. 11, the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (IPUC) staff will host a public workshop in Coeur d'Alene to discuss the company's request for a Purchased Gas Cost Adjustment. The workshop is presented by IPUC commission staff, not by Avista, although representatives of Avista will be on hand to answer questions. The workshop begins at 7 p.m. in the Driftwood Bay Room of the Student Union Building at North Idaho College, 1000 W. Garden Ave. The IPUC news release can be found at http://www.puc.state.id.us/internet/press/092805_AvuGasPGA.htm.
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