An NPR member station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Avista, Hydro One File Settlement Agreement in Olympia


Spokane’s Avista Utilities and its proposed merger partner, Hydro One of Toronto, announced they’ve filed a settlement agreement with Washington state utility regulators.

The two utilities filed their paperwork Tuesday with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission. Avista spokeswoman Casey Fielder says the agreement lays out the conditions of the sale.

“What this means is that all the parties have worked together to come to an agreement that is positive for customers and communities and it’s in the public interest and it meets the net benefit standard for approval in Washington,” Fielder said.

The details of the agreement include more than $30 million in rate credits for Washington customers during the first five years after the merger. That’s according to a commission press release. It also includes a pledge to donate $11 million to programs that help low income customers. It allows Avista to more quickly write off its investment in the Colstrip coal fired power plant in Montana. And it commits the utilities to investing money to help the community of Colstrip with an economic transition after the plant is closed.

Avista officials expect the commission to vote on the proposed merger in the fall. Public hearings on the settlement will be held in late April in Spokane Valley and Colville and in early May in Othello and Colfax.

Before the union of the two utilities can be finalized, regulatory agencies in several other states and provinces will also need to sign off. Casey Fielder says Washington is the first state in which a settlement agreement has been reached.