Avista looks to raise electrical rates

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Josh Radezky, a fitter for Avista Utilities, shovels dirt out of a trench as laborer Jeff Connor performs a techniques called air knifing to create an underground path while working on replacing gas lines in this 2014 photo. (Press File)

Avista Utilities has filed a formal request to ask for a rate increase for Idaho’s electrical customers.

The increase, which would go into effect January 1, 2020, would raise rates for residential customers by 3.5 percent, averaging approximately $34.68 yearly, commercial and industrial customers would see increases up to 1.6 percent.

The proposal would generate $5.3 million in additional revenues, which Avista claims they intend to reinvest into infrastructure maintenance, cybersecurity enhancements and power pole upgrades.

“Avista’s rates are costs-based,” Avista President Dennis Vermillion said in a statement, “where the costs related to wood pole replacements and generator upgrades and other equipment that is included in customer rates reflects the cost of the equipment when it was installed, decades ago. The costs for this equipment are many times more expensive today, and this is a driver of our rate requests.”

“Each year, we’re inspecting and replacing roughly 12,000 poles per year across our system,” Avista Senior Communications Manager Casey Fielder added. “It’s important to everyone we provide safe and reliable service our customers have come to expect.”

— Craig Northrup

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