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Natural gas bills are going up

Avista natural gas customers will see higher bills after a rate increase goes into effect on Nov. 1. Avista photo
Avista passing on higher wholesale costs

Natural gas customers will see higher bills after a rate increase goes into effect on Nov. 1.

The Oregon Public Utility Commission recently approved a natural gas rate increase for Avista Utilities customers. Avista is spending more to buy wholesale natural gas amid worldwide price increases. The PUC is allowing Avista to pass on those cost increases to customers.

The monthly bill of a typical residential customer will go from $61.78 to $66.97, an increase of $5.19 or 8.4%, the PUC said.

A typical commercial customer’s bill will go up from $215.29 monthly to $243.09, an increase of $27.80 or 12.9%, according to the PUC.

The monthly bill of a typical industrial customer will rise from $1,993.45 to $2,484.34, an increase of $550.89 or 28.5%, the PUC said.

Avista Utilities serves over 106,000 customers in portions of southwest and northeastern Oregon.

Since 2007, Avista has had 12 rate decreases and three rate increases due to changes in wholesale gas prices. Avista recently filed a rate case with the PUC seeking additional revenues for non-gas costs. A decision on this filing, which is scheduled for mid-2022, will further impact customer rates, the PUC said.

To increase energy efficiency and save on energy bills, customers are encouraged to:

  • Turn down thermostats to save up to 3% for each degree. A programmable thermostat that reduces heat at night or when no one is home can lower heating bills by 5% to 10%.
  • Update low-efficiency furnaces and water heaters with higher-efficiency models.
  • Fully insulate homes to realize up to 30 % savings on a heating bill.
  • Clean or change the furnace filter once a month during the heating season.
  • Conduct an online Home Energy Review through the Energy Trust of Oregon by visiting www.energytrust.org/residential/evaluate-your-home. For tips and to learn about financial incentives to make home, commercial or industrial operations more energy efficient, see energytrust.org.
  • Learn about bill payment assistance programs by reaching out to Avista’s customer service. Call 1-800-227-9187 or email askavista@myavista.com.

The PUC regulates customer rates and services of investor-owned electric, natural gas and landline telephone utilities that operate in Oregon, as well as select water companies. The PUC said its mission is to ensure Oregon utility customers have access to safe, reliable, and high quality utility services at just and reasonable rates.