Aug 11 , 2010
Backpack photo courtesy of Jansport.com
Post by Jessie Wuerst
Follow Jessie on Twitter: @AvistaCares

At Avista, we have a long history of reaching out into the communities we serve to help in many ways. Usually we ask our employees to donate school supplies in barrels placed in many of our offices, so kids who need a little help can start the school year well-equipped to learn.

This year we chose to do things a little differently. There are great organizations sponsoring school supply drives in almost every town in our service area. We’re informing our employees about as many of these community drives as we can. So, it’s even easier for our employees to give back to their communities by placing new rulers and pencils and notebooks in bins right where they shop – in their own town.

We’ve seen how the faces of kids in lower-income schools absolutely light up when they get a new backpack filled with all the supplies they need to get a great start on their school year. While we may not see those faces directly this year, we know that even more kids will have a great start to their school year through the generosity of our employees. I hope you’ll take a few minutes on your next shopping trip to pick up a few extra supplies and help fill the bin, the box or the bus for the children in your hometown.
Published: 8/11/2010  9:18 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Aug 06 , 2010
Energy efficiency expert and Avista employee Tom, answers a question for Energy on the Street.
Energy efficiency expert and Avista employee Tom, answers a question for Energy on the Street.
 
Post by Dan Kolbet

Just a quick update on where we’re at for Energy on the Street. Today we recorded four Avista employees answering your questions about energy. The topics spanned from dam safety to energy efficiency and rates. We’ve got a full day of answer-filming next week, and then likely another day the following week.

Bridget works in customer service for Avista and discusses the many tools available to customers on our website.
Bridget works in customer service for Avista and discusses
the many tools available to customers on our website.
There is still time to submit a question to us to get answered by an Avista expert on camera. Just send me an e-mail here at the Blog and I’ll find you an expert and an answer, easy as that.

Yesterday I was asked a good question online about how this project is working. The question came from a discussion forum post on the Spokesman-Review’s website. The writer implied that we might only post questions and answers that are favorable to Avista. Essentially, that we’d edit out anything that wasn’t to our liking. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Some of the discussions we had with customers on camera didn’t result in an actual question for us to answer. We aren’t using those because there’s nothing to answer. We also aren’t running questions that are duplicates. Other than that, it’s exactly what our customers said. I am very pleased with the questions we received and the specific things our customers wanted to know about.

I’m excited to share the videos on the Conversation section of our website by the end of the month.
Published: 8/6/2010  4:11 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Aug 06 , 2010
Avista and Home Depot remind home owners and contractors to call 811 at least 2 days before digging
 
811
Post by Laurine Jue

Avista is partnering with Home Depot to celebrate National 811 day (Tuesday, Aug. 11). All are welcome to join Avista and learn more about 811 at the Spokane Valley Home Depot (5617 East Sprague Avenue) from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Aug. 11, National 811 Day.

Avista employees will be staffing booths where customers can learn more about 811 and why it’s important to call before you dig. While learning more about 811, customers can pick up free giveaways, enter to win a drawing and more! Each visitor will receive an “811 passport” which can get stamped at each booth. Customers who visit two booths will receive a free 811 T-shirt. Customers who visit all three booths will be entered to win a grand prize drawing.

On Aug. 11 and throughout the year, Avista wants to make sure homeowners and contractors alike to call 811 at least 2 business days before digging to eliminate risk of striking an underground utility line.

Published: 8/6/2010  3:36 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Aug 06 , 2010
Do these look like your appliances?
If your appliances look
like these, it might be
time to take advantage
of state and Avista
rebates to become
more efficient.
Cash for Appliances, plus Avista rebates helps you double-dip on savings
 

If your home is like mine, the summer chore list can get pretty long. But there was one chore on our list that I couldn’t wait to check off – buying a new dishwasher. Our new dishwasher is great - it saves a lot more energy and water than the old one, plus we don’t have to shout to talk while it’s running. We even received an Avista rebate for purchasing the new high efficiency Energy Star appliance.

The only thing that could have made it better was if we had received an additional rebate. It’s too late for us, but it isn’t too late for you.

Washington State this week announced an expansion of its Cash for Appliances rebate program. The federally-funded statewide program now provides rebates for purchasing Energy Star freezers, dishwashers, electric heat pump water heaters, gas storage and gas tankless water heaters, and ductless heat pumps. That’s in addition to the existing rebates under the program for clothes washers and refrigerators.

Naturally, you can pair the Cash for Appliances rebates with available ones offered by Avista, which range from $20 to $200, for even more cash savings. Information and forms on Avista’s rebates are at www.everylittlebit.com. While you’re on the site, check out our Appliance Recycling Program for Washington and Idaho customers.  We’ll will pick up your old refrigerator, recycle it and pay you $30 for it – what a deal!

To find out more about Washington’s Cash for Appliances program, visit www.cashforapplianceswa.com.

Idaho residents can still qualify for the Idaho Appliance Rebate Program when replacing older, working appliances with an eligible Energy Star appliance, so find out more at www.energy.idaho.gov/stimulus/appliance_rebate.htm. Idaho customers can also take advantage of the same Avista rebates and programs as our Washington customers. 
Published: 8/6/2010  12:46 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Aug 04 , 2010
Watch video
 
Post by Dan Kolbet

Yesterday morning I was working at my desk when I heard a broadcast-quality voice coming from somewhere behind me. Something about a planned power outage. I heard it again. And again.

Then I went to investigate.

The voice was my co-worker, Communications Manager Hugh Imhof, recording phone messages that will be sent to customers who will experience a planned power outage in the near future. Since it’s construction season we’re upgrading and replacing portions of our system, which sometimes requires a short power outage. We want to make sure you know about them beforehand, whenever possible.

One of the best ways to let customers know is to call them, although door hangers and other means may also be applied depending on the location and circumstances.

I hear from a lot of people online who ask where Avista is tightening its belt and being more efficient – this is a great example of where it is happening every day. Hugh was recording three planned power outage messages for this week.

Our automated phone system (we call it EVP) is being used to gain efficiencies wherever possible. For example, earlier this year around 1,400 of our customers in Idaho had to be contacted by Avista. Previously two or three customer service representatives would handle the live calls – a process that could take up to a week. This year with EVP, it took two hours – a tremendous savings in time and money.

This system is also being used for updates on real-time power outages, inquires to customers about bills, and to handle many transactions when you call us at 1-800-227-9187. We want to make sure we always deliver great customer service to you, so my co-workers worked hard to make this system a reality and it’s certainly paying off.

Hugh isn’t the only voice you’ll hear if you get a phone call from us, you may also hear Communications Manager Laurine Jue and others. I invite you to watch a quick Q and A video that Hugh and I recorded about the messages he was recording yesterday.

Published: 8/4/2010  2:40 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Aug 02 , 2010
Avista Stadium
We took this picture of the Avista Stadium sign two weeks ago,
between customer interviews for Energy on the Street. If you want to
attend an Indians game this week – try to go tomorrow so your ticket
sales will benefit Project Share.
Post by Dan Kolbet

Looking to attend a Spokane Indians game this week? How about tomorrow? Avista and the Indians have teamed up to donate money to Project Share for tickets sold for the game on Tuesday, August 3.

The Indians will donate 50 cents of every walk-up ticket sold for the game to the Avista Project Share program in order to raise funds and bring awareness of need in our area.

Project Share is a customer, community, and company-funded program that provides one-time emergency assistance to families in our region. 

With the Project Share program, 100 percent of every dollar donated is forwarded to community action agencies for distribution to those who qualify. Energy assistance is provided without regard to the source of heat or providing utility company.

For fans who can't make it to the Indians game on the 3rd, but still want to donate to Project Share, there are three other ways to contribute. You can donate online at www.avistautilities.com, you can add a donation to your next monthly payment or send a check to Project Share, P.O. Box 3727, Spokane, WA 99202.

Tuesday’s game against the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes starts at 6:30 p.m., gates open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are available by calling the Avista Stadium Ticket Office at 509-343-OTTO (6886) or visiting www.spokaneindiansbaseball.com. You can also purchase tickets at any TicketsWest outlet, by calling 1-800-325-SEAT, or visit www.ticketswest.com.
Published: 8/2/2010  11:52 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

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