Avista seeks rate hike to recoup costs

Avista Corp. has asked the Oregon Public Utility Commission for a 25 percent monthly basic charge and an overall 8 percent natural gas hike to recoup infrastructure costs.

If approved, the request will increase revenue $8.6 million.

Residential customers using the average of 47 therms a month can expect to see a $5.68-a-month increase, or 8.9 percent, for a revised monthly bill of $69.33. The monthly basic charge will rise to $10, even when there is no usage.

Among Avista's planned improvements is the completion of a pipeline in southeast Medford. The Spokane, Wash.-base utility said it is systematically replacing hundreds of miles of natural gas distribution pipe installed prior to 1987.

Avista serves approximately 98,000 customers in Oregon. The PUC has up to 10 months to review Avista’s request.

1.85 percent rental vacancy rate reported

Members of the Southern Oregon Rental Owners Association reported a 1.85 percent vacancy rate during April in Jackson and Josephine counties.

Property managers and owners reported 78 vacancies out of 4,207 reporting units.

The March vacancy rate was 1.91 percent, based on 76 reported vacancies out of 3,962 reporting units.

A year ago, the vacancy rate was 1.93 percent.