350 Spokane sent a letter dated 9/12/17 to the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) requesting that the Commission hold a hearing in Spokane regarding Avista’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). Briefly, the IRP details the power generation sources the utility will be using, including sources owned by Avista and power purchased from open market sources. The UTC is the state agency that regulates investor owned utility monopolies, such as Avista Corporation. The UTC must approve the utility company’s business model taking into account best practices and the concerns of rate payers, it’s customers. 350 Spokane has been informed that our request has been granted for a hearing in Spokane.

Avista is one of the owners of the Colstrip Montana coal fired electric generation plant. The EPA, in 2015, determined this facility to be the 3rd largest greenhouse gas source in the United States. Our letter to the UTC detailed the argument that Avista needs to divest itself from ownership of the Colstrip power plant and become a coal free provider of electricity in the shortest possible time frame.

The Washington Utilities Commission very seldom holds hearings outside of Olympia. This presents a very rare opportunity for people in the area to turn out in large numbers and show the Commissioners the level of concern over Avista’s use of coal. Once the owners of Colstrip pay off their debt the coal fired generation plant will shut down. This IRP hearing puts Spokane in a unique position to play a pivotal role in the carbon footprint not only on the local and regional level, but on a national scale. Stay tuned for more details in the coming months.

Jim LeTellier
350 Spokane