Jun 08 , 2010
Helicopter pulling powerline in 2007
A helicopter, similar to this one, will be used to assist in placing new power poles in the St. Joe River Valley
next week. This shot was taken in 2007 when a helicopter was used on the Washington and Idaho Palouse
to pull a new transmission line across a large span.
 

Pole reinforcement
The poles being replaced next week were inspected
in the company’s Wood Pole Replacement program.
Under the program, a percentage of Avista’s over
274,000 service-area poles are evaluated each
year to help ensure reliability of the company’s
electric system. In 2009, Avista spent over $8.2
million on the program. This image shows a crew
reinforcing a wood pole with steel shanks.
About 350 Avista customers in the St. Joe River Valley will experience power outages June 15 thru 17, from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. each day as Avista crews work to replace nine power poles in remote locations, requiring the use of a helicopter.

The outages will affect customers on St. Joe River Road (NFD50) from Scott’s Logging at mile marker 14 to Avery, Idaho.

Over the past year, power poles in portions of the St. Maries area, including the St. Joe River Valley, have been inspected as part of Avista’s on-going Wood Pole Replacement program. Under the program, a percentage of Avista’s over 274,000 service-area poles are evaluated each year to help ensure reliability of the company’s electric system. In 2009, Avista spent over $8.2 million on the program.

According to Matt Swan, Avista’s local representative in St. Maries, pole repairs identified through the inspection having the least impact on St. Maries-area customers have been completed. The remaining work of replacing poles is now causing service interruptions.

“We apologize for the inconvenience this series of outages could create and appreciate the patience for our customers. We encourage those with special considerations to make alternative arrangements during this time frame,” Swan said. “Our crews, with the assistance of a helicopter, will work as quickly and safely as possible to return everyone to service.”
Published: 6/8/2010  11:08 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Jun 08 , 2010

Attend the Power Breakfast

Post by Dan Kolbet

Avista and the Northwest Gas Association (NWGA) are hosting a Power Breakfast concerning natural gas. We’ll discuss why this clean and efficient fuel will play an increasingly important role in helping the nation and our region meet the growing demand for energy while helping meet environmental standards.

As new technologies are developed, our access to natural gas will increase, which will continued to make it a cost-effective choice. Learn why the direct use of natural gas increases efficiency and discover how your business can benefit from Avista’s energy efficiency programs and incentives.

Speakers will include Dan Kirschner, Executive Director of the NWGA and Kevin Christie, Director of Gas Supply for Avista.

Event details
-June 15 - Spokane Valley, Wash: Mirabeau Park Hotel and Convention Center,  North 1100 Sullivan Road.
 
-June 16 – Moscow, Idaho: Best Western University Inn, 1516 Pullman Road.
RSVP to Moscow event
 
8:15 a.m. - Registration, check-in
8:30 a.m. - Breakfast, Presentation
10:00 a.m. - Q&A, Networking
Published: 6/8/2010  9:19 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Jun 07 , 2010
Post Falls Dam
Post Falls Dam on the Spokane River.
 
Post by Hugh Imhof
 
This has been quite a year for unusual weather. All the rain we’ve had is increasing the flow of water into Coeur d’Alene Lake. Our federal license doesn’t permit us to let the lake go above its summer level of 2,128 ft. above sea level. So to keep that from happening we’ve been letting as much water as possible spill over the dam at Post Falls. When the river runs fast, as it is now, this causes the water level to drop in the stretch of the Spokane River upstream of the dam.

Back in April we warned river users to be extra cautious because we thought there might be a lot of unusual water levels. That has happened and some boaters have been caught with their hulls on the bottom.

If the weather cooperates the river should start to rise later this week. And even though this is an unusual year for weather, it’s normal for the river to fluctuate until around the Fourth of July, when we are typically able to close the spill gates at the dam and hold the lake level steady.

We’re looking at some ways to improve communications with river users, but please remember that conditions can change very quickly and use caution on the water.

Our website gives lots of information on conditions and two phone numbers are updated daily with a river and lake report. 

-For current information on Spokane River flows and Coeur d'Alene Lake elevation (includes anticipated changes in flow and elevation for the coming week) call 208-769-1357.

-For current information on Spokane River flows and Lake Spokane elevation (includes anticipated changes in flow and elevation for the coming week) call 509-495-8043.
Published: 6/7/2010  1:43 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Jun 02 , 2010

Patriot award presentation

Col. Richard McReynolds (far right) and Sgt. Ken Heywood (right)
present the Patriot Award to Dennis Vermillion, Scott Morris and
John Schwendener (left to right).
Post by Sarah Hilbert
 
Avista was awarded the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Patriot Award last month in Medford, Oregon. Sgt. Ken Heywood, an Avista Medford Operations Inspector, and Col. Richard McReynolds, the Southern Oregon Area Four Chairperson with the ESGR Oregon Committee presented the award to Medford Area Coordinator John Schwendener.

The Patriot Award is an award not all employers receive or deserve. The award is given to employers who employ civilian soldiers and support them in times of deployment or annual training. Continuing benefits and salary play a major role in the success of civilian soldiers.

According to the ESGR website, “The ESGR is a Department of Defense organization that seeks to promote a culture in which all American Employers support and value the military service of their employees.”

Heywood nominated Avista for the Patriot Award based on his experiences as a soldier in the National Guard.

“I nominated Avista because of the understanding I received when I was activated and sent to Louisiana for the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts and for understanding that I may have to perform duties on short notice,” Heywood said.

“Another reason was because Avista continues a military salary and benefits, understanding that we, as soldiers don’t make a lot of money. We do this ultimate job for our country because we want to, not because we have to. In the past 21 years of my service to our state and country, I have had some employers that were less than understanding. It means a lot to have a company that understands what it means to be a civilian soldier.”

Congratulations and special thanks to Sgt. Heywood and all who have served our country.
 
Published: 6/2/2010  8:41 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Jun 01 , 2010
An Avista My Account page
Post by Dan Kolbet

The first working day of the month is typically a very busy time for our Contact Center because call volumes are high. Pile on top of that the time of year when college students are moving in and out and setting up or closing accounts and, oh yeah, a holiday weekend – and you’re going to have some busy phone lines.

I e-mailed (note “e-mailed,” not called) one of our customer service managers this morning and asked about call volume. He said they’d answered more than 1,000 calls already this morning – and projected four times that amount by the end of the day.

I’m a customer too and I’ve never had to wait more than a few moments to talk to one of our customer service reps (CSRs). I can’t tell you what your wait time (if any) might be if you call, but I know one sure-fire way to avoid any wait – go online. Nearly everything you can do on the phone with a CSR can be done at this website www.avistautilities.com. Just sign-in your My Account and you are set.

Want to sign up for comfort level billing? Check. How about starting or stopping service? Check. Need to make a payment? Check. Want to chat about your day . . . OK, so you can’t do that online (except for at the Blog, but just about everything else is available for you.)

So, give it a shot if you need to work with us today (or any day for that matter).
 
Let me know how it goes. Conversation@avistautilities.com
 
Published: 6/1/2010  10:56 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

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