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News Release
Commission Approves Avista Utilities General Rate Case Request
 
September 25, 2003 (2003 - 027) (UG 153)
 
Contacts:  Lee Beyer, Chairman, 503 378-6611; John Savage, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Ray Baum, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Bob Valdez, Public Information Officer, 503 378-8962
 
Salem, OR – The Oregon Public Utility Commission has approved an overall 9.9 percent rate increase for Avista Utilities. The company will begin charging its natural gas customers in Oregon the new rates effective Oct. 1, 2003.
 
This is the company’s first general rate increase in Oregon since Avista Utilities acquired CP National in 1991.
 
The company initially requested an overall $7.5 million increase to pay for growing business expenses other than the cost of buying natural gas supplies. The Commission reduced the request by $1.2 million.
 
The general rate increase will take effect at the same time as a rate change based on wholesale natural gas prices, called a purchased gas adjustment or PGA. The PGA reflects wholesale natural gas prices paid by the company. The company does not make a profit on the sale of gas.
 
With the combined effect of both rate adjustments, the bill for a typical residential customer using 55 therms per month will go from $43.09 to $53.83, an increase of $10.74. The January bill for a typical residential customer would increase $20.48 over last January’s bill. Rates for commercial and industrial customers will increase from 19.9 to 21.2 percent.
 
"The timing of these two decisions results in a significant increase in prices," Commissioner Chairman Lee Beyer said. "However, I would hope customers burdened by this increase would consider contacting the company about spreading out their bills over 12 months, and look into ways their homes could use energy more efficiently."
 
A portion of the PGA increase has been delayed so the combined effect on residential customers would be no more than 25 percent. As a result, rates will change again March 1, 2004, when Avista passes through the remaining increase in its wholesale gas costs. In the interim, the company will not collect interest on the remaining balance in the PGA account.
 
Northwest Industrial Gas Users, and the Citizens’ Utility Board also participated in the case, in addition to Avista and Commission staff.
 
Avista serves about 82,264 customers in LaGrande, Grants Pass, Medford, Klamath Falls and Roseburg.
 
Energy efficiency tips are available on the agency’s web site at:
 
http://www.oregon.gov/PUC/consumer/gastips.shtml
 
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