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Avista asks Wash. regulators to reconsider, rehear 2016 rate increase requests

Avista Corp. on Dec. 23 filed a request with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission to reconsider Avista Utilities' requests to increase its electric and gas rates.

The utility previously applied to increase its electric rates 7.6% to raise $38.6 million in additional revenue and to increase its natural gas rates by 2.8% for $4.4 million in additional revenue, effective Jan. 1, 2017.

In its decision, the Commission ruled that Avista did not demonstrate that the company's current revenue is insufficient for covering costs and providing the opportunity to earn a reasonable return during the 2017 rate period and the CapEx and increased operating costs are both necessary and immediate.

In the reconsideration filing, Avista said that the commission staff agrees that current rates are not sufficient, revenue adjustment is necessary to cover the gap in the growth in costs and sales revenue as costs associated with the growth in rate base and operating expenses are growing at a faster pace than retail sales.

Avista further declared that the capital projects and operating expenses included in the case are necessary in the time frame proposed in order for the company to provide safe and reliable service to customers, the staff acknowledged that all studies and analyses consistent with prior practices of the regulators were provided by the company.

The regulators have 20 days to either deny reconsideration or extend the time for its deliberation. If the commission grants reconsideration, it may deliver a decision revising or affirming its previous order.