McKenna looks to stop electric hikes

Keith Loria Aug. 18, 2009, 4:00pm

Rob McKenna (R)

SEATTLE (Legal Newsline) - Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna on Tuesday challenged proposed electric and gas rate increases by Avista, claiming the request is not justified and that the company may be already charging its customers too much.

Avista filed a request with the Utilities and Transportation Commission in January, looking to raise the electric rates of its residential customers by 18.5 percent.

Overall, the proposed request would generate an additional $74.7 million in revenues - $69.8 million from electric customers and $4.9 million from gas customers.

The Public Council recommends that Avista trim down expenses, including executive compensation, shareholder profits and Board of Directors expenses.

They also recommend the company provide more assistance to low-income residents.

McKenna said he believes that if the UTC approves all of the Public Counsel's recommendations, Avista's electric revenues would be reduced approximately $12 million below current levels, resulting in lower electric rates.

Revenues from gas rates would only rise by approximately $400,000.

The UTC will examine the testimony and evidence presented by Public Counsel and other parties and issue a decision by the end of the year.

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