Avista requests recovery of costs for providing service in Oregon

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SPOKANE, Wash., March 15, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Continuing capital investments in natural gas infrastructure led Avista to file a request today with the Public Utility Commission of Oregon (PUC) to increase natural gas base rates.

The proposal is designed to increase overall natural gas billed revenue by approximately $6.7 million or 7.8 percent and is based on a proposed rate of return of 7.55 percent with a common equity ratio of 50 percent and a 9.9 percent return on equity.

"This general rate request is driven by investments in our natural gas infrastructure that serves our customers in Oregon,” said Dennis Vermillion, president of Avista. “We continuously invest in the natural gas system, and this request includes projects that support the safe, reliable delivery of natural gas to our customers as well as the replacement of old equipment, compliance with government regulations and requirements, technology upgrades and more. While customers have benefitted from low natural gas commodity prices, we understand that this requested increase can be challenging, and we are focused on managing our costs, maximizing efficiencies and delivering value for our customers.”

The last general rate request Avista filed in Oregon was Nov. 30, 2016, with new base rates that took effect on Oct. 1, 2017 and Nov. 1, 2017. This request is separate from the Purchased Gas Cost Adjustment (PGA) and other annual rate adjustment filings that took effect on Nov. 1, 2018, lowering an average customer bill by 8.3 percent or $4.56 per month.

On average, about 35 percent of an Avista bill for Oregon residential customers is the combined costs of purchasing natural gas on the wholesale market and transporting it to our system for delivery to customers. The remaining 65 percent is related to the ownership and operating costs of Avista's delivery system to provide safe, reliable service to all customers, while meeting mandatory state and federal requirements.

Avista serves approximately 103,000 customers in Oregon. The PUC has up to 10 months to review Avista's request.

This news release contains forward-looking statements regarding the company’s current expectations. Forward-looking statements are all statements other than historical facts. Such statements speak only as of the date of the news release and are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond the company’s control, which could cause actual results to differ materially from the expectations. These risks and uncertainties include, in addition to those discussed herein, all of the factors discussed in the company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2018.

SOURCE: Avista Corporation

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Globe Newswire: 20:05 GMT Friday 15th March 2019

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