Avista has filed a multi-year rate plan with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission to recover increased operating and maintenance costs and ongoing investments to infrastructure and technology.
The rates are expected to be effective in December 2024 and December 2025, upon approval.
“The ongoing effort to align the rates customers pay with Avista’s costs to serve is one of the main reasons we file general rate requests,” Avista CEO, Dennis Vermillion said. “The fact that our region is fortunate enough to benefit from hydrogeneration means that the total average monthly cost of Avista’s residential electric service is almost 40% lower than the national average for investor-owned utilities.”
If approved, the electric general rate request is designed to increase annual revenue by $77.1 million (or 12.6% on a billed basis) effective in December 2024, and $53.7 million (or 7.8% on billed revenue basis) effective in December 2025.
Avista aims to replace infrastructure reaching the end of its life and respond to the need for reliability and technology investments for building an integrated energy services grid.
Some of the projects included in the filing are:
- Investments in clean energy hydroelectric projects, such as Nine Mile, Cabinet Gorge, Post Falls, and Noxon Rapids, as well as installation of new substations to meet customer capacity requirements.
- Continued investment in Avista’s Wildfire Resiliency Plan, which outlines substantial steps that Avista has taken to guard against the growing threat of wildfires including grid hardening, enhanced vegetation management, and other best practice measures.
- Ongoing systematic replacement of portions of natural gas distribution pipe in Avista’s service area installed prior to 1987, as well as replacement of other natural gas service equipment to strengthen the integrity, safety, and reliability of the system.
- Technology upgrades supporting necessary business processes and operational efficiencies allowing Avista to effectively manage the utility and serve customers.
The company, in compliance with Washington’s Clean Energy Transformation Act (or CETA), has removed the costs associated with generation from the Colstrip Generating Plant from customer rates in year two of the proposed multi-year rate plan. Avista is a 15% owner of Units 3 and 4 at the plant.
All electric utilities are expected to eliminate coal-fired generation from serving Washington customers by the end of 2025, as a part of CETA.
Residential electric customers in Washington using an average of 945 kWhs per month are expected to witness a total billed increase of 13.3%, or $12.94 for a revised monthly bill of $110.20, effective December 2024 and an increase of 6.2%, or $6.87 for a bill of $117.07, effective December 2025.
The monthly increase includes a proposed $6.00 per month increase in the basic charge to a level of $15.00 per month in December 2024 and a proposed $5.00 per month increase in the basic charge to a level of $20.00 per month in December 2025.
Avista has launched My Energy Discount, a personalized monthly bill discount program to help eligible customers lower their energy bills, in Washington. The program offers more inclusive eligibility guidelines, quick and easy enrollment and a two-year discount term.
Additionally, Comfort Level Billing, preferred due date and payment arrangements offer customers with more control over their energy costs.
Avista’s Energy Manager and home energy audit tools, as well as energy-saving tips, videos and money-saving rebates for energy-efficient upgrades, are available to help manage energy usage.
The company also provides local community action agencies with funding for eligible customers seeking emergency grants, home weatherization and heating system improvements.
Customers with special health or financial circumstances are allowed to work directly with Avista’s Customer Assistance Referral and Evaluation Services team for help with housing, other utilities, medical assistance, and more.