Oct 26 , 2010
The goal of Powering our Future: Energy Opportunities, Choices and Costs is to engage attendees in a discussion about Avista and the region’s energy future
 
Powering our Future
Post by Dan Kolbet
 
Over the last few weeks you may have heard about Avista’s energy event that happens this Thursday. It’s shaping up to be a great event, and I’m glad I’ll be in attendance.
 
This first-time event, called Powering our Future: Energy Opportunities, Choices and Costs, will bring community and business leaders, commercial and industrial customers, elected officials, and others together for an interactive afternoon with national energy speakers and Avista experts on topics concerning the future of energy, followed by a networking social.
 
There are still some seat available, click here to reserve a space. For those of you not able to come, we’ll recap discussion highlights, key findings, video clips, photos and more after the event. I’ll even be live-tweeting Thursday from the @AvistaUtilities twitter account. Watch for the hashtag #EnergyFuture.
 
The goal of “Powering Our Future” is to engage the public in a discussion about Avista and our region’s energy future. We’ll be highlighting important issues around using, delivering and securing energy that are shaping this future and hope to use this event as a launching point for future conversations and engagement.
Published: 10/26/2010  12:59 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Oct 22 , 2010
Duane, Chris and Dan
Videographer Duane Regehr, Limited Income Program Manager Chris
McCabe and Communications Manager Dan Kolbet pause for a
photo between Energy on the Street takes.
Post by Dan Kolbet

Today was a great day. We recorded eight new question and answer videos for Energy on the Street, our interactive customer project that helps get you answers to your most pressing questions about energy. I plan to have a new batch of edited videos on our Energy on the Street page by early November.

Trying to schedule a number of employees to record answers on the same day is a bit tricky, but thankfully everyone was willing and happy to make today fit their schedule. This morning I was a bit worried about the shoot while driving into work – it was raining and I’d planned to record the answers outside. Thankfully, the sun peaked through the clouds at just the right times and allowed our Avista experts to answer your questions without getting soaked!

Today we tackled questions about rates and pricing, wind and solar power, time of day metering, PUDs and investor-owned utilities and more.

We also recorded our first Avista expert responding to a question that was e-mailed to us by a customer through our conversation@avistautilities.com inbox. If you’ve got additional questions for us, send us an e-mail, we’d love to get you an answer.

Check out the 12 already-completed videos on our Energy on the Street page.
Published: 10/22/2010  3:07 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Oct 20 , 2010
Clark Fork Newsletter
Post by Anna Scarlett

Avista recently published the second issue of our Clark Fork Newsletter, which goes out to stakeholders, customers, media and others interested in news about Avista’s Clark Fork Project. Our Clark Fork Project includes Cabinet Gorge and Noxon Rapids hydroelectric dams – the newsletter highlights natural resource, operational and community activities associate with the project. Articles in this issue include:

• New Transformers Go PCB-Free
• EWM: Invasive Species Wrap Up
• Clark Fork Faces: Mike Miller
• Management Committee Tours
• Resource Projects
• Hunters – Play Safe!
 
More information
Avista Blog, July 6, 2010: Clark Fork Project Newsletter launched
 
Published: 10/20/2010  4:31 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Oct 20 , 2010
Energy Vampires! Spooky!
I have energy vampires living at my house. How about you?
Spooky stuff!
Post by Dan Kolbet

I finally got up the Halloween decorations this weekend. Usually we take out the pumpkins, cob webs and other scary stuff about a month before the big day, but this year it just wasn’t a top priority for me. Nonetheless, I got it done last weekend.

My daughter, who is in the first grade helped me hang up the, albeit modest, decorations.. As you might expect, the discussion quickly turned to what she is going to be for Halloween. This conversation actually started months ago. I faintly remember her wanting to be a “Witch-Fairy-Kitty,” whatever the heck that is. We even bought her some of the pieces for a “Witch-Fairy-Kitty” costume, but for the life of me I can’t figure out how that’s all going to work.

If for no other reason than to simplify her costume creation – I convinced her to be a vampire! But not just any vampire – an energy vampire! I know it sounds dorky, but she’s in the first grade, everything is kind of dorky.

An energy vampire is something the sucks power/electricity when it’s actually turned off. For example, a large stereo, cable box, DVR – or even your coffee pot could be an energy vampire.

We’re still working on the costume, but I imagine it’ll involve fangs, face paint, a black cape and a power cord. The picture at the top is just the beginning. I’ll post a picture when the costume is finished.

We answered a customer question about vampire power, also known as parasitic power/load for Energy on the Street recently. Check out my co-worker Tom Lienhard’s answer.

 
Vampire power Energy on the Street Video
Published: 10/20/2010  11:25 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Oct 19 , 2010
Library Energy Efficiency Kit
The Idaho Public Library offers free energy
efficiency kits to borrow which include energy
efficiency tips and a P3 Kill A Watt™ meter along
with instructions.
Borrowing a free energy efficiency kit from your local library is a no-cost, easy way to learn about your energy usage
 
Post by Sarah Hilbert
 
I’m definitely feeling the change of seasons. My alarm clock wakes me up in the morning only to be welcomed by that stinging cold feeling once I stumble out of bed. Time to turn that thermostat up (a little).

The only thing that will remotely wake me up is a nice warm shower; it warms the soul and helps me to open my eyes.

Here at Avista, we love to profess how being energy efficient is good for everyone, our environment and our future. I completely agree. But wow, it sure is getting cold.

To do my part, especially since it’s Energy Awareness Month, I decided to learn how to intertwine the tried and true energy efficiency practices with my levels of comfort. Try to make it a win-win situation for everyone.

The energy efficiency kit
The Idaho Public Library is a great place to learn for free, including learning about energy awareness and efficiency. I borrowed an efficiency kit from the library which includes a P3 Kill A Watt™ meter along with instructions, and energy efficiency tips – all for free.

P3 Kill A Watt
The Kill A Watt™ displays a bevy of information
such as kwhs used, plug-in time, voltage, current,
watts and more.
If you are a library card holder of any Idaho Public Library, you can obtain one of these handy kits. Simply go to the library and check it out. The free energy efficiency kit was made possible through Avista, the Idaho Libraries Commission, Idaho Power and Rocky Mountain Power.

How it all worked
I took the kit home with me and went about my routine as I normally would, except I remembered to plug in the P3 Kill A Watt™ meter into the outlet, then my appliance, into the meter. Here are highlights of where this meter went:

Lighting: Lamps and overhead lighting. Daylight Savings Time is close on our heels. The night is coming sooner and so, the lights come on. The problem: I probably could use one less light or two and get by. I am also guilty of leaving the lights on and walking away. Usage in one hour (one plugged-in light): 0.01 kwhs

Cooking: Microwave. Minimal use here (I’m no domestic goddess, plus the last thing I want to do after working out is cook). Usage: 0.03 in six minutes equals 0.3 kwhs in one hour.

TV: News and perhaps an episode of “Say Yes to the Dress,” “Pawn Stars” or even “The Biggest Loser.” Who’s losing on this one? Me. I’ve been guilty of leaving the TV on and walking away. Usage in one hour: 0.12 kwhs

Wii console: Tennis anyone? I play a mean game of Wii table tennis. I may also use it to watch some Netflix movies. Usage in one hour: 0.01 kwhs.

Computer: Oh the many things a computer has to offer. We have a love-hate relationship. Though I can’t imagine life without it, I tend to forget about it when it’s on. I have been known to leave the house with a powered on computer. Usage in one hour: 0.15 kwhs.

The Stats
Once the Kill A Watt™ was plugged in, I took a look at the meter after an hour and pressed the kilowatt-hours button (KWH) which is how energy is measured and priced. The device told me how much energy I had used in an hour. It can also tell me the amount of time it’s been plugged in (up to 9,999 hours), the voltage (Volt), current (Amp), watts (Watt), frequency (Hz), power factor (Pf) and volt amps (VA).

Now, I’m not a big fan of complicated math equations, hence one of the reasons I chose communications as my career path; but I found the formula to calculate the usage recorded by the Kill A Watt™ meter to be quite painless. Since this is an Idaho kit, I used Avista’s Idaho electric residential rates.

Appliance: Computer
KWHs used in one hour x Rate = Costs per hour of use x hours used per month = Cost per month
.15 KWHs x $0.07761 = $0.0116415 x 120 hours ≈ $1.40

I made it even easier on myself and downloaded an Excel spreadsheet which tracks and calculates my energy usage.

Being aware and taking care
I believe awareness of my energy use is much like awareness of my 401k performance. I reduce my risks by knowing what’s going on and having more control over it.

Though there is a second part to this process. Knowledge can indeed be powerful; however, knowledge without action is just wasted effort.

So next time I need to leave the living room while watching TV, I’ll remember how much energy I could potentially save and I’ll turn it off. The same goes with lighting and my computer.

Now that I know how my appliances use energy and the cost of that energy, I plan to make a conscientious effort to be strategic about my consumption and curb my use.

Every little bit does add up. What seems like cents on the dollar for an hour or even a month really adds up over time. The greatest part of all – a free lesson in energy efficiency, no-cost tips, plus a free meter to make it real for me – all available at the local library. That’s something I can take with me wherever or however I live.

If you live in Idaho, you can take advantage of this free program. If you live in any other state, a P3 Kill A Watt™ meter can be easily purchased for about a week’s worth of trips to your local coffee shop (around $20) and you can be on your own journey to energy enlightenment. 
 
If you have an Idaho Public Library Card, you're in luck
If you are a library card holder of any Idaho Public Library, you can obtain one of these handy kits. Simply go to the library and check it out.

The free energy efficiency kit was made possible through Avista, the Idaho Libraries Commission, Idaho Power and Rocky Mountain Power.

Published: 10/19/2010  3:42 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Oct 07 , 2010
EOS Future
 
Post by Dan Kolbet

You depend on Avista to supply you with energy whenever you need it. Ever wonder how we make sure we’re ready for the future? With a growing regional population and increasing demands on energy, how does Avista plan for the future to ensure it can provide for its customers? This question from Energy on the Street gives you all the know-how. Length: 1:13.

Check out the rest of our Energy on the Street question and answer videos here.
Published: 10/7/2010  2:06 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Oct 07 , 2010
Powermongers video
 
Post by Dan Kolbet

Are you a fan of Energy Efficiency? I am. Really. Here’s how: I went to www.facebook.com/everylittlebit and became a fan. So it’s official. Pretty cool.
 
My favorite feature on the new Facebook page is the “Powermongers” tab. The video at the top of this blog post will tell you all you need to know about this group. Five housemates. One power bill. Four have a common goal: save energy. But one likes to waste it. Will they discover the Powermonger in time?

Can you tell who it is? Watch the video and find out. See anything familiar from your home?

If you’re an energy efficiency fan, you can also order a free Powermonger Awareness Kit which features a T-Shirt, CFL, poster, energy efficiency tips and other cool stuff.

It’s worth a look for sure. Check it out: www.facebook.com/everylittlebit
 
FB like iframe
 
Published: 10/7/2010  1:53 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Oct 05 , 2010
Power Down, Add Up
"Power Down, Add Up" is a month-long energy efficiency
competition between Gonzaga and Washington State University.

October is Energy Awareness Month, and Avista kicked it off by reaching out to some of its newest customers – college students.

Late last week on the steps of Gonzaga University’s Crosby Student Center, Avista hosted a kickoff event to promote a month-long energy savings contest between Gonzaga and Washington State University for its on-campus residents and Greek housing students.

Students were treated to a “powered down” performance from Gonzaga-based band, “The Danger Bears,” as well as an energy trivia showdown between Avista’s Energy Watchdog, Wattson and Gonzaga University’s mascot, Spike the Bulldog.

Avista’s Energy Solutions Engineer Tom Lienhard toured a dorm room with students and pointed out simple ways to save energy.

What’s the deal with Power Down, Add Up?
The contest, “Power Down, Add Up,” will promote energy efficiency by encouraging students to take simple steps like turning off electronics and unplugging chargers when not in use, turning off lights when leaving a room, and not letting the hot water run unused.

“We are excited to have local university students involved in energy saving activities for Energy Awareness Month,” said Chris Drake energy solutions program manager. “Saving energy can be very simple and every little bit adds up. While students may not be thinking about their energy bill yet, we hope they can build good habits that will help them save energy in the long run.”

PowerMongers
College students can visit www.everylittlebit.com/powermonger
 to learn about energy efficiency, check out a cool video and
find the powermongers that live among them.
Students will enter their activities in their online energy diaries at www.everylittlebit.com/powerdownaddup during October. Winners will be determined based on the most energy saved.

Students who rent can conserve too
Students living off-campus and who receive their own energy bill can learn about saving energy through the web where they can request energy awareness kits and through the Every Little Bit Facebook page become a fan of energy efficiency.

As emerging customers, college students play an important role in shaping our energy future. Their commitment to energy efficiency can create lifelong practices that decrease the demand for resources and increase efforts towards a sustainable future.

Extra Info
Read Gonzaga Bulletin reporter Stephen Paur’s article, “'Power Down, Add Up’ aims to reduce energy usage.”
 
Like Powermongers
Published: 10/5/2010  4:52 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post