Idaho's Public Utilities Commission taking comments through Dec. 30 on Avista proposal to extend power sales agreement with Stimson Lumber in Plummer for five years

BOISE, Idaho , December 21, 2011 (press release) – Avista Utilities is asking the Idaho Public Utilities Commission to approve a five-year power sales agreement with Stimson Lumber in Plummer. The commission is taking comments on the proposal through Dec. 30.

The agreement is an extension of a previous agreement that expired Sept. 30.

Stimson Lumber qualifies under PURPA as a generator of up to 6.5 megawatts of energy from wood waste. PURPA, the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act, requires utilities to buy power from small-power producers at rates published by state commissions or at rates negotiated between the utility and the small-power producer. The rates paid the small-power producers are to be based on “avoided cost,” or the cost the utility avoids by not having to generate the power itself or buy it from another source.

Under the proposed agreement, Avista would pay the developer for generation during light-load hours $52.12 per megawatt-hour during the early months of the five-year agreement, escalating to $61.86 per MWh in the latter months of 2016. During heavy-load hours, the price is $57.52 per MWh in the early months of the agreement, escalating to $67.26 per MWh in the latter months of 2016.

Avista Utilities, headquartered in Spokane, serves electric and gas customers in northern Idaho.

Comments are accepted through Dec. 30 via e-mail by accessing the commission’s homepage at www.puc.idaho.gov and clicking on "Comments & Questions About a Case." Fill in the case number (AVU-E-11-06) and enter your comments. Comments can also be mailed to P.O. Box 83720, Boise, ID 83720-0074 or faxed to (208) 334-3762.

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