Utilities commission hosts hearing on Avista sale

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Customers of Avista Corp. told the state Utilities and Transportation Commission they’re happy with their local electric and natural gas utility and see little benefit from its sale to a Canadian corporation.

About 80 people attended a public hearing in Spokane Monday on the proposed $5.3 billion sale to Hydro One, of Toronto. While some customers spoke in support of the sale, many who testified were skeptical.

The Spokesman-Review says some people worried the sale could result in higher rates.

The commission must evaluate whether the sale meets the state’s “net benefit” standard, which requires utilities to demonstrate that ratepayers would not be harmed and would actually benefit from the transaction.

The Legislature passed the requirement after an Australian company purchased Puget Sound Energy, the state’s largest utility, in 2009.