Washington - Rate Requests
- Purchased Gas Cost Adjustment Schedule 150 (April 29, 2022)
- Avista’s Line Extension, Conversion and Relocation Schedule 51 (March 11, 2022)
What is Avista requesting?
On Jan. 21, 2022, Avista filed electric and natural gas general rate requests with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC or Commission) that would allow the Company to recover costs for fixed expenses and ongoing investments to infrastructure, technology and more. If approved, new rates would be effective in Dec. 2022 and Dec. 2023.
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:
|Effective in Dec. 2022
||Effective in Dec. 2023
How much have Washington customer prices changed over recent years?
We take our responsibility to provide you with energy at an affordable price very seriously. In fact, the total average monthly cost of Avista’s residential electric service is almost 40% lower than the national average, for investor-owned utilities.
Since 2016 in Washington, a residential customer’s bill has increased an average of only 0.5%, and 1% for a residential natural gas customer over that same period. Overall, Avista customers’ changes in energy prices are less than the rate of inflation during the past six years, according to the Consumer Price Index.
Why is Avista requesting to change energy prices?
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.
Part of the responsibility of providing an essential service is to make sure customers have energy when they need it. This means that we must continue to make important and necessary investments to the infrastructure that serves our customers such as replacing wood distribution poles and natural gas pipelines, taking steps to meet our clean electricity requirements and goals, making our system more resilient to the threat of wildfires, and upgrading customer-facing technology and substations, and much more.
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.
When would my bill change?
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 decide. During this time, the Commission will review our costs and relevant information, and listen to the public. With this material, 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 Dec. 2023.
Who decides if and how much my bill will change?
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.
Is executive pay included in my energy bill?
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, purchase, and deliver energy to customers.
What do our rates pay for?
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.
- 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.
- Ongoing 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 many other industry-leading best practice measures.
- 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.
- Technology upgrades that support necessary business processes and operational efficiencies that allow Avista to effectively manage the utility and serve customers.
Where can I learn more?