A major energy provider in the Inland Northwest sent an email to Washington customers today warning of potentially significant increases in costs.
Avista sent out a 300-plus word statement on Wednesday morning in regards to controversial statewide ballot initiative I-1631. That initiative proposes a fee on major emitters of carbon.
The company did not come out either for or against the initiative and said, “Avista has not taken a position on this issue as we believe climate change is a complicated policy issue." But the email goes on to provide a data table, which is the result of a preliminary analysis of the direct impact Avista believes the measure could have on your bills.
Avista estimates that in the first year after the initiative would take effect, it would cost electric customers $58.08. In other words, monthly bills would go up by $4.84. For natural gas customers, the estimated increase is $61.32 or $5.11 per month.
We reached out to other energy companies to see if they have made similar calculations. Only Inland Power responded, and they had done the calculations but with very different outcomes.
Inland estimates costs to consumers would go up by $14.06 dollars or $1.17 on each monthly bill.
We sent all these estimates over to the campaign behind the initiative for their response. They argue there are factors not being given enough weight here, like money the measure could give to electric companies to transition away from fossil fuels.
They sent a statement that says in part: "While we appreciate Avista's neutral position on I-1631 it's disappointing to see them misleading voters about the costs. I-1631 will invest in energy efficiency, home and business weatherization, and making clean energy more affordable for more communities in Washington. That's going to reduce costs for Avista and Inland Power customers."
For more of KREM 2’s coverage on I-1631, see our fact check of some of the ads the two campaigns have been running.