Avista pushes to hike prices

Avista Utilities said Thursday it will seek a $14.2 million increase from its Oregon natural gas customers.

Avista said it filed the request with the Oregon Public Utility Commission, or PUC, to recover capital-project costs and operating expenses. It is the third such increase requested since 1991.

Avista said it has increased the capacity and reliability of its distribution system delivering natural gas to its 95,000 customers in Medford, Klamath Falls, Roseburg and La Grande.

The PUC has up to 10 months to review Avista's filing, which requests an average 11.6 percent increase. If the increase is approved, a residential customer using an average of 49 therms per month would see a $9.15 increase, or 12.5 percent, for a revised monthly bill of $82.46.

On average, about a quarter of a natural gas bill goes to providing the service. Avista said it has tightened its belt, limiting capital projects and canceling plans to construct additional office space.

The company will make a separate filing based on the cost of natural gas in August.

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