SPOKANE, Wash — Avista wants to raise electric and natural gas rates for customers in 2020 and again in 2021.

Avista filed electric and natural gas rate increase requests with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission to recover investment-related costs, the company said Tuesday.

If approved, Avista would increase rates starting on April 1, 2020, and then again on April 1, 2021. 

Those changes will be slightly different for electricity and natural gas customers. 

Avista provided examples of rate increases for people based on their current utility bills, if the company's request is approved.  

Electric customers:

Residential electric customers in Washington would see a rate increase of 9.8 percent in 2020 and another 3.7 percent in 2012. 

That means people whose monthly bill usually comes out to $81.21 would see their bill increase to $89.14 in April 2020. Then in April 2021, a bill that usually comes out to $89.14 would increase to $92.60.

Natural gas customers:

Residential natural gas customers in Washington would see a rate increase of 10.4 percent in 2020 and 4.7 percent in 2021. That means people who pay $46.40 a month would see an increase to $51.00 in April 2020. In April 2021, that bill would increase to $53.55. 

The company says this plan will create a "stay out period" where Avista would not file a new rate increase request until 2022. They say this will keep customers from experiencing rate increases in the middle of the winter months.

Avista's President Dennis Vermillion said the increases are necessary to pay for the costs of infrastructure investments, maintenance and technological advancements.

“This includes efforts like inspecting and replacing thousands of power poles each year, replacement of natural gas pipe, upgrading transmission lines, enhancing cybersecurity and upgrading hydroelectric turbines and generators in our century-old Little Falls dam," Vermillion said. "We’re also investing in digital tools and technology options that make it easier for our customers to interact and do business with us. All of these investments allow us to meet our customers’ energy needs, maintain the reliable and efficient service they expect and keep the electric and natural gas systems safe."

If approved, the electric general rate request is designed to increase annual billed revenues by $45.8 million starting April 1, 2020, then increase by $18.9 million starting April 1, 2021, Avista said.

If the natural gas rate increase request is approved, annual billed revenues will increase by $12.9 million starting April 1, 2020. Then revenues will increase again by $6.5 million starting April 1, 2021.  

The commissions decision-making process can take up to 11 months, according to Avista. During this time, the Commission will review Avista's documents, costs and other relevant data, while also listening to public testimony.