We are always working to keep your energy prices fair and affordable.
Unlike most companies who can change their prices whenever they want, Avista is regulated. To change our rates, we must first file a rate case with state commissioners to explain why our expenses are outpacing our income. Here's the detailed and regulated process that follows a rate request.
Speaker 1: It's a product you almost never think about but you count on it 24 hours a day, seven days a week: energy. Flip the switch, the lights go on. Turn on the gas, now you're cooking. It's our job at Avista to deliver that energy safely and reliably every day. You may have heard about a rate case we filed and wondered: so what is a rate case anyway?
A rate case is the way we request to change prices or rates to recover our cost of delivering your electricity and natural gas. We're regulated by three state utility commissions, so before we can adjust our prices we must make the case that current rates are not sufficient to cover our costs. That's different from the way most companies operate. When costs change for, say, a gas station owner, he simply adjusts his price for a gallon of gas, sometimes even on a daily basis. But because we're regulated, we can't change prices whenever we see the need. We must first file a rate case to explain why our expenses are outpacing our income.
While we work hard to keep those expenses down, the cost of delivering energy continues to go up, costs like all the equipment and people it takes to maintain thousands of miles of pipes and wires, or repairing damages and restoring service after storm outages, or investing in upgrading and optimizing our system. It can add up to millions of dollars every year.
As part of this process, we conduct extensive analysis and provide thousands of pages of documents to regulators and other parties when we file a rate case. Depending on the state, regulators have between seven and 11 months to review the details and make a final ruling, setting rates that are fair and reasonable both for customers and for Avista.
It takes a lot to deliver the electricity and natural gas you rely on every day. Now, if you hear about a rate case, you'll know the role it plays in delivering that energy. You can be sure the next time you flip the switch or turn on the gas, it will be there.
How rates work
The rates you pay for energy cover two types of costs:
- 50% of your bill pays for the generation of the electricity you use – the actual cost of turning water, gas, or wind into power, and
- 50% covers the costs to safely and reliably deliver that energy to your home or business
Avista customers pay an average of $2.80 a day for electricity. That’s less than 12¢ an hour to watch TV, listen to music, play video games, charge your phone, do laundry, see in the dark, or keep food fresh. Natural gas is even less expensive at under 8¢ an hour.
On average, electric and natural gas rates have remained affordable.
On average, the total monthly cost of Avista’s residential electric service is 32% lower than the national average, for investor-owned utilities.
Here's a detailed breakdown:
Equipment, maintenance, and planning.
Avista generates power from 8 hydroelectric projects and 7 thermal generation plants and receives power from 58 wind turbines. Then we send it over 19,000 miles of distribution lines across 30,000 square miles to more than 300,000 customers.
Maintaining and improving a massive infrastructure made up of pipes, poles, dams, turbines, and substations means that, every year, we invest hundreds of millions of dollars into our systems. It’s all part of our commitment to provide reliable energy – both now and well into the future.
Avista is an investor-owned utility. Our shareholders invest money that the company uses to conduct business and provide safe, reliable energy to customers. Click on the link below to learn more about the distinctions between investor and public utilities.
Yes. Utility commissions in each state set the prices you pay for energy.
No. Rates can only be changed with approval from state public utility commissions. It's a carefully regulated process that typically takes several months.
Maintaining and improving a massive infrastructure made up of pipes, poles, dams, turbines, and substations means that, every year, we invest hundreds of millions of dollars into our system. Many parts of our system are more than 50 years old. It’s all part of our commitment to provide you with reliable energy – both now and well into the future. It’s the right thing to do.
When the rates we charge aren’t enough to cover the rising costs of facilities, equipment, damage repair, etc., we file a request with the commission to explain why our expenses are outpacing our income.
Avista files a request with the commissions any time there is a need to adjust rates. The commissions in charge (Washington, Idaho, Oregon) investigate the request and follow the following steps:
- Analyze costs or part replacements, upgrades, and more
- Review thousands of pages of information about the projects, business cases, or items we are requesting to include recovery for in rates
- Invite public testimony and review comments
The commissions then determine and set fair and reasonable rates.
Read more about the topics you care about in these informational one-sheets.
Fair and reasonable rates
You want fair and reasonable rates. So do we. Learn how we work with state utility commissions to ensure that happens.
Energy at a bargain
Imagine life without energy. Check out how much it costs a day, on average, to power all the things you love.
Behind the light switch
You may be surprised to learn exactly what it takes to turn on the lights. Learn more about the massive infrastructure we continuously maintain to provide you with safe, reliable energy.
As an investor-owned utility, Avista is driving economic growth to help create jobs and strengthen our communities. Learn how we differ from a PUD.
Know your rates
Learn more about how rates are set, what they cover and how Avista compares to other investor-owned utilities across America.
Multiple filings with differing components across three states can seem confusing or complicated. To provide some clarity, we’ve defined common terms we communicate about.
Compensation and salaries for our executives combined account for less than one-half of one penny out of every rate dollar. Find out what your rate dollars really pay for.
The details about Avista’s rates, expenses, earnings and executive compensation can be complex. Learn more about how we set compensation that is aligned with the marketplace.
Profits and shareholders
As a utility and business, Avista must bring in money to cover the expenses of providing safe, reliable energy to our customers. Learn more about where this money comes from and how it is spent.