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Avista submits long-range gas supply planning document

Avista Utilities anticipates a 1.1 percent growth each year for the next 20 years in natural gas consumption in Idaho, but maintains it has sufficient gas supply to serve its 73,000 northern Idaho customers at least through 2022.

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission is taking comments on Avista‘s integrated resource plan through March 23. The commission requires regulated gas and electric utilities to file an integrated resource plan every two years outlining a plan to meet the future needs of its customers.

Avista’s portfolio of natural gas supply resources includes firm capacity rights on six pipelines and commodity purchase contracts from several supply basins. It also has storage capacity at basins owned by the company as well as contract storage.

The plan includes price forecasts for natural gas, but notes that price forecasting is difficult given the current economic situation, the expectations for new shale gas production and the increased amount of natural gas used by electric companies for power generation, the Idaho Public Utilities Commission said in a release.

Matching its resource supply with its expected demand, Avista does not anticipate shortages until at least 2023 and then only if the company did nothing in the meantime to meet expected future demand.

Avista’s integrated resource plan establishes a near-term action plan to steer the company toward risk-adjusted, least-cost methods of providing service to customers, the commission said. Issues that could increase risk are current economic conditions and financial markets, the possibility of federal climate-change legislation and an increasing amount of supply coming from unconventional sources, especially shale gas and liquefied natural gas, according to Avista.

The integrated resource plan includes steps Avista will take to help customers reduce demand including incentives for the purchase of high-efficiency appliances (water heaters, clothes dryers, furnaces), insulation, weather-stripping, insulated windows and duct work and heat recovery systems.

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