Washington - Rate Requests
Avista requests electric and natural gas rate changes in Washington
On April 30, 2019, Avista filed electric and natural gas rate requests with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC or Commission) to recover costs related to investments in infrastructure, system maintenance, and technology.
Avista is making significant investments in infrastructure and systems every year to maintain, upgrade and ensure the safety, reliability and resiliency of the equipment and facilities that serve our customers every day. These investments include upgrades and maintenance of generation facilities, transmission and distribution equipment, natural gas pipe, and technology.
If approved, these requests would change the price customers pay for their energy.
Learn more about the rate request and rate case process:
Frequently asked questions about the request
On April 30, 2019, Avista filed electric and natural gas general rate requests with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC or Commission) to recover costs related to infrastructure, system maintenance, and technology. If approved, these filings would change the price customers pay for the energy they use. The proposal includes a two-year rate plan.
All requests to change energy prices will be reviewed by the Commission, who then sets rates.
If approved, customers would see their energy bills change as follows:
|April 1, 2020
||April 1, 2021
Based on average use of 918 kWhs per month
Based on average use of 55 therms per month
In Washington over the last four years, a residential customer’s bill today is only 2.3 percent higher, on average, than an equivalent bill in January of 2016. For natural gas, a residential customer’s bill is actually 24.4 percent lower over that same time period, on average. Overall, Avista customers’ changes in energy prices are less than the rate of inflation during this time period, according to the Consumer Price Index.
These requests are made to better align customer rates with Avista’s costs of providing service to our customers and to recover costs related to investments in infrastructure that serves our customers.
This includes investments such as inspecting and replacing thousands of power poles each year, replacement of natural gas pipe, upgrading transmission lines, enhancing cybersecurity and upgrading hydroelectric turbines and generators in Avista’s century-old Little Falls dam. Investments are also being made in digital tools and technology options that make it easier for customers to interact and do business with us.
Our rates are cost-based, meaning that the costs included in customer rates reflect the costs of the equipment when installed decades ago. When we replace or update old equipment with new equipment, it can cost many times more than when it was installed. This is a primary reason for our rate requests.
The Commission will decide when and if bills will change. Once a general rate request is filed, the Commission has up to 11 months to make a decision. During this time, the Commission will review our costs, review relevant information and listen to the public. With this information, they will set rates they believe are reasonable and fair.
We’ve requested a two-year plan, which would create a stay out period where Avista would not file a new general rate case for new rates to be effective prior to April 1, 2022. This would provide customers with some predictability in their expected future energy prices and would continue to change the cycle of base rate adjustments from winter to spring, at the end of the winter heating season. With this, customers would not experience a base rate increase in the middle of winter, as they might have in years past.
Avista is a regulated utility which means we cannot change energy rates on our own. The utility Commission sets the rates customers pay for the energy they use. After reviewing Avista’s request and costs, relevant data and listening to the public, the Commission will set rates it believes are reasonable and fair to customers and Avista.
Yes, however this is not a driver of energy rates. Salaries and bonuses of corporate officers are less than one-half of a penny of every dollar paid in rates, or about 47 cents per month. Customer rate dollars go toward many things that ensure you have the energy you need, including systems that allow us to generate and purchase as well as deliver energy to customers.
No transaction-related costs are or will be included in customer rates.
No. This request is driven by the significant investments we’re making in our infrastructure and systems every year to maintain, upgrade and ensure the safety, reliability and resiliency of the equipment and facilities that serve our customers every day.
Rates for electric and natural gas customers cover two types of costs:
- the cost of generating or purchasing energy
- the cost of delivering that energy to customers
Avista’s infrastructure investment plans address the need to replace infrastructure that has reached the end of its useful life, as well as respond to the need for reliability and technology investments required to build the integrated energy services grid that will take us into the future.
Below are some examples of infrastructure and system investments that are included in the requests.
- The upgrade of generating units and other equipment that is over a century old at Avista’s Little Falls Dam, which will provide more generating capacity to serve customers with reliable energy.
- The distribution grid modernization program that continuously rebuilds and upgrades every electric feeder in the system, replacing old equipment like poles, conductor, and transformers to improve service reliability, capture energy efficiency savings and improve operational ability.
- Ongoing management, inspection and replacement of 240,000 electric distribution wood poles through Avista’s wood pole management program, ensuring distribution wood poles and the equipment on them support the company’s ability to provide customers with safe and reliable power.
- The ongoing project to systematically replace portions of natural gas distribution pipe in Avista’s service area that were installed prior to 1987 as well as replacement of other natural gas service equipment to strengthen the integrity, safety and reliability of the system.
- The rebuild of a high voltage transmission line that had been serving customers for more than 100 years, including the installation of steel poles and crossarms.
- Technology upgrades that support necessary business processes and operational efficiencies that allow Avista to effectively manage the utility and serve customers.