SPOKANE, WA--(Marketwired - April 15, 2015) - Avista (NYSE: AVA) received approval from the Public Utility Commission of Oregon (PUC) of a revised all-party settlement agreement, concluding the proceedings for the general rate request filed on Sept. 2, 2014. New rates will take effect April 16, 2015.
The approved rates are designed to increase annual billed revenues by 4.9 percent or $5.0 million. The $5.0 million billed revenue increase is composed of a base rate increase of $5.262 million, offset by $0.262 million that the company is already receiving from customers through a separate rate adjustment.
"The Commission's decision represents positive outcomes for our customers, the company and our shareholders," said Dennis Vermillion, Avista Corp. senior vice president and president of Avista Utilities. "It supports Avista's efforts to continue to make key capital investments in our utility infrastructure as well as recover the operating costs of serving our customers."
The approved settlement agreement reflects a 9.5 percent return on equity (ROE), and a 51 percent equity layer. The rate of return is 7.52 percent.
A residential customer using an average of 47 therms per month would see a $3.15 per month increase, or 5.2 percent, for a revised monthly bill from $60.50 to $63.65, effective April 16, 2015. This bill change reflects no increase in the monthly basic charge. The actual percentage increase will vary by customer class and will depend on how much energy a customer uses.
Avista's Original Request
Avista's original request filed with the PUC in September 2014 included an increase in natural gas billed rates for customers of 9.3 percent or $9.14 million and was based on a proposed rate of return of 7.77 percent with a common equity ratio of 51 percent and a 9.9 percent return on equity.
The majority of Avista's general rate request filing was related to the need to expand and replace the facilities used to serve customers. This included, among other things, increased investment to replace certain natural gas service pipe and updated technology that is the backbone of the company's customer information system.
Avista serves approximately 98,000 customers in Oregon.
About Avista Corp.
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 our operating division that provides electric service to 370,000 customers and natural gas to 330,000 customers. Its service territory covers 30,000 square miles in eastern Washington, northern Idaho and parts of southern and eastern Oregon, with a population of 1.6 million. Alaska Energy and Resources Company is an Avista subsidiary that provides retail electric service in the city and borough of Juneau, Alaska, through its subsidiary Alaska Electric Light and Power Company. Avista stock is traded under the ticker symbol "AVA." For more information about Avista, please visit www.avistacorp.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 Dec. 31, 2014.