WWP sells to Spokane Suburban Water Company and rates rise


In 1982, AVISTA ( then WWP ) sold off its Spokane water utility companies to a French Company called Spokane Suburban Water Company, for $4.5 Million, with assurances that there would be no rate increases.  Forty days after the sale was approved by the UTC, Suburban asked the UTC for a 22% rate increase, which was reduced to 13% by the UTC and granted about a year later.  Two months after being granted the increase Suburban again requested the UTC for a rate increase, this time for 45.1% and the UTC granted them 38.2%.  So, in less than 3 years after the sale the UTC had granted a 51% rate increase. Neighbors across the street on different water systems were then paying substantially less for water.  Citizens were outraged and formed Spokane County Water District #3 in 1986 and by condemnation purchased Suburban in 1988 for $7.9 Million.  Suburban charged high water rates and made a 75% profit in less than 6 years.  Kind of makes you wonder if this had not been the plan all along.

The UTC did not protect the interests of the Suburban Water Company customers in this case.  WWP sold a water company in Clarkston with a very similar result in the same time period.

WWP – Suburban Water  This link is to a pdf document that is three articles on this deal from the Spokane Chronicle in June of 1986.