Washington Commission Declined to Increase Avista’s Avoided Costs

At the March 10, 2022 Open Meeting, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (the Commission) approved Avista’s avoided cost Schedule 62 tariff filing in Docket No. UE-210815. 

The Northwest & Intermountain Power Producers Coalition (NIPPC), the Renewable Energy Coalition (REC), and Commission Staff recommended the Commission require Avista to increase its avoided costs. NIPPC and REC argued Avista’s avoided costs were too low because, among other things, the rates did not reflect that Avista’s next planned resources were renewable, and the effective load carrying capability (ELCC) for solar resources, at 2%, was too low. Avista agreed to revise some aspects of its calculation that slightly increased the avoided costs compared to Avista’s initial filing, but Avista disagreed regarding the renewable rate and solar ELCC value. Commission Staff largely supported NIPPC and REC’s recommendations.

The Commissioners, in a 2-1 decision, declined to adjust Avista’s avoided costs. Commissioners Rendahl and Balasbas stated that requiring Avista to include a renewable rate in its avoided costs if its next planned resource was renewable would require a rule modification instead of a clarification, and that type of rule modification would be more appropriate in a proceeding where all stakeholders had an opportunity to be heard. Commissioner Danner was inclined to adopt Staff, NIPPC, and REC’s recommendation because he stated that the avoided costs were too low and the avoided costs did not reflect compliance with Washington’s Clean Energy Transformation Act. Commissioner Rendahl agreed the rates seemed low, and she described her decision as the right legal call but maybe not the right policy call.

Sanger Law, PC represented NIPPC and REC in this proceeding.

NIPPC represents electricity market participants in the Pacific Northwest, including independent power producers, electricity service suppliers, and transmission companies. NIPPC is committed to facilitating cost-effective electricity sales, offering consumers choices in their energy supply, and advancing fair, competitive power markets.

REC advocates for reasonable Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act and interconnection policies on behalf of renewable qualifying facilities that are located in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

These materials are intended to as informational and are not to be considered legal advice or legal opinion, nor do they create a lawyer-client relationship. Information included about previous case results does not assure a similar future result.