Avista Utilities customers in northern Idaho will see a 1 percent drop in their energy bills this winter, after the Idaho Public Utilities Commission approved a rate settlement Friday with the Spokane-based public energy provider.

The deal, first approved by Avista in October, will lower the bill for an average Idaho household by about 86 cents, to $84.45 per month, from current rates, according to a news release from the commission. The settlement was finalized after months of negotiations between the commission, Avista, and representatives of private companies, forestry and conversation groups.

The agreement also calls for Avista to make a $1.6 million investment in energy savings projects in northern Idaho, where the utility serves 133,000 customers, according to the commission.

The agreement becomes effective Sunday, according to the news release.

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