(SANDPOINT) The Idaho Conservation League supports Avista Power’s settlement with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission over electricity rates for its customers in North Idaho.  At the Idaho PUC in Boise, ICL and other stakeholders negotiated a settlement the first week in October that prevents unnecessary spending on fossil fuels, supports new clean energy projects, and increases funding for energy savings programs. 

As part of this settlement, Avista will fund a new $1.6 million program for energy savings projects for its customers in North Idaho. This new program will complement existing programs by providing a more flexible funding source distributed by a committee of local stakeholders. Initially set at $1.6 million, this fund is an ongoing project with possibilities for more money in the future.

Matt Nykiel, ICL’s conservation associate in Sandpoint, said, “ We thank Avista, the Idaho PUC staff, the Idaho Forest Group, Clearwater Paper, and the Lewiston Community Action Partnership for supporting energy conservation. More efficient use of electricity means less reliance on fossil fuels at Avista’s Colstrip coal-fired power plant.”

Nykiel added, “Not only will rates go down for Avista customers in North Idaho, they will have more options to save even more energy.”

In its June 2019 “general rate” filing with the PUC,  Avista requested a 3.5% rate increase for its residential customers. This translated to an extra cost of $2.89 a month per home in North Idaho. ICL firmly disagreed with this request and entered into negotiations with Avista at the PUC.

When Avista’s merger with Canadian company Hydro One broke apart last year, Hydro One paid Avista $103 million as a termination fee. ICL strongly suggested Avista provide at least $5 million of this termination fee to help Idahoans conserve energy as ICL stated in merger negotiations last year. 

ICL protects Idaho’s air quality and climate stability by working to eliminate Idaho’s reliance on fossil fuels for electricity. ICL engages with Idaho utilities, regulators, and customers to create policies that encourage developing Idaho’s own clean energy sources. Unlike out-of-state fossil fuels, solar, wind and geothermal power is produced right here in Idaho and puts electricians, home builders and other local companies to work.