Wholesale natural gas revenues decreased $37.3 million due to a decrease in prices, partially offset by an increase in volumes. We plan for sufficient natural gas capacity to serve our retail customers on a theoretical peak day. As such, on nonpeak days we generally have more pipeline and storage capacity than is needed for retail loads. We engage in optimization of available interstate pipeline transportation and storage capacity through wholesale purchases and sales of natural gas to generate economic value that partially offsets net natural gas costs.
Intracompany revenues between electric and natural gas which are eliminated in the total results of Avista Utilities, but included in the analysis above, decreased $4.9 million for the year-to-date (which is an increase in revenue).
Utility other operating expenses increased $14.9 million primarily due to increased labor (including $7.3 million of costs under the voluntary severance incentive plan), pensions and other postretirement benefits, and electric distribution costs. These were partially offset by decreased electric maintenance costs (which included the regulatory deferral of $6.7 million of maintenance costs) and outside service costs.
Utility depreciation and amortization increased $6.5 million driven by additions to utility plant.
Ecova: On a quarterly basis, Ecova's revenues decreased $6.7 million or 14 percent, as compared to 2011, and totaled $40.0 million. During the fourth quarter of 2011, Ecova determined that certain revenues, which previously had been reported net of expenses, should be reported on a gross basis. This increased both Ecova's operating revenues and expenses by $9.2 million with no change to net income for 2011. This was partially offset by the acquisitions of Prenova and LPB, which added $4.5 million to operating revenues for the fourth quarter of 2012.
On an annual basis, Ecova's revenues increased $17.8 million to $155.7 million primarily as a result of Ecova's acquisitions of Prenova effective Nov. 30, 2011 and LPB effective Jan. 31, 2012, which added $22.5 million to operating revenues for 2012 over 2011 revenues. Ecova's revenue growth in expense and data management services was slower than expected. In addition, Ecova experienced delayed onboarding of new customers onto the monitoring system for energy management services, and there was a reduction in revenues related to the deconsolidation of a partnership. This, combined with the increased operating expenses has contributed to a net decrease in net income attributable to Avista Corp. shareholders.
Ecova's total operating expenses increased $35.8 million for 2012 as compared to 2011. The increase in total operating expenses primarily reflects increased costs necessary to support ongoing and future business growth, as well as to support the increased revenue volume obtained through the acquisitions. Ecova experienced increases in employee costs of $20.5 million, facilities costs of $1.7 million, and information technology costs and professional fees of $4.6 million. In addition, Ecova incurred $2.6 million in transaction and integration costs. Depreciation and amortization increased $6.3 million due to intangibles recorded in connection with the acquisitions. Included in the increased depreciation and amortization is an impairment loss of $1.1 million pre-tax ($0.7 million after-tax) related to the write-off of internally developed software during the fourth quarter of 2012.
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