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Avista reaches rate settlement on tax benefits for Idaho customers

Avista Corp. has filed a settlement agreement with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission to pass along benefits from the federal tax reform bill to electric and gas customers.

Under the settlement, customers would receive tax benefits of approximately $33.9 million, according to a news release by the Idaho commission. The proposal includes a direct rate decrease of $26.5 million, effective June 1, consisting of an $18.7 million decrease to base rates and a $7.8 million decrease through rate credits from the utility's power cost adjustment mechanism. The rate credit through the power cost adjustment mechanism would continue until May 31, 2019, and then decrease to a credit of roughly $2.7 million through May 31, 2020.

An average electric customer using 950 kWh will see a reduction of $2.15 on their monthly bills.

The proposed settlement also calls for a benefit of roughly $7.4 million to offset deferred costs customers would otherwise pay through rates.

Parties to the settlement were the commission staff, Clearwater Paper Corp., Idaho Forest Group LLC and Idaho Conservation League. (Idaho case no. GNR-U-18-01)