Nov 17 , 2010
Crews upgrading Nine Mile Spillway system
Avista crews upgrading the Nine Mile
Spillway gate system.
 
Reservoir to be raised and lowered throughout testing process

Avista has completed installation of new spillway gates at its Nine Mile Dam, and will be testing the new system over the next couple of weeks. Nine Mile Reservoir will be raised and lowered several times during the testing period to ensure the new spillway system is operating correctly.

The upgraded system will give Avista operators the ability to raise and lower the height of the spillway gate at any time, incrementally if needed, in order to maintain the reservoir pool at a more constant level throughout the entire year. The new system consists of metal gates supported by air-filled rubber bladders, and replaces our old wooden flashboard process, which had been in use since 1928 after Avista purchased the dam. In the past the reservoir had to be lowered each summer to accommodate installation of the flashboards.

Operators began inspecting and testing the new system this week. Tests will consist of independent cycles of each of the three spillway gate sections between the full and minimum pool elevation (about 10 feet below full pool). Beginning Sunday, Nov. 14, Nine Mile Reservoir was raised to full pool, and over the test period it will be gradually lowered and raised several times to allow for observation of the spillway gates throughout the minimum to full pool elevation range, in order to ensure the spillway gates are fully operable. 

The public will see several fluctuations of the reservoir levels during this testing period, and should stay out of the section of the Spokane River above Nine Mile Dam to Plese Flats. Water levels and conditions around a dam are subject to change at any time, and river users are reminded to use caution on the water and comply with all posted notices and closures.

The reservoir level should be back to full pool by the first part of December 2010. Currently, no change in the full pool level is planned after the new spillway has been tested. To the extent possible, Avista will maintain the reservoir level at the normal full pool elevation year around; however, there will be times when the reservoir will need to be drawn down for maintenance purposes.
Published: 11/17/2010  9:47 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Nov 16 , 2010
New wind photo album
 
Post & Photos by Dan Kolbet
 
Tuesday’s early morning wind storm damaged up to 11 transmission structures on Idaho’s Hwy 95, south of Potlatch and north of Moscow. The poles were likely pulled down in a domino effect, with wires pulling down the next structure and each smashing into the highway.
 
The slideshow at the top of this post shows the transmission line damage and restoration on Hwy 95 south of Potlatch.
 
Crews from several parts of Avista’s service territory worked to safely remove the poles and wire from the roadway, frequently using chainsaws and wenches to heft the debris to the side of the road. New steel transmission structures and assorted items were delivered to the site on Tuesday afternoon. Erecting those structures will take into Wednesday at least. Just over 1,100 customers were impacted by this outage.

Across our service territory Tuesday, Avista employees worked tirelessly to restore power and keep customers up to date. At its peak roughly 45,000 customers were without power. As of 6:15 p.m. Tuesday night, just 6,600 customer remain without power. Due to the extent of the storm’s damage some customers will remain without power at least through early Wednesday morning. 
 
For the most current information on outages click here.
 
 
 
Published: 11/16/2010  6:23 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Nov 11 , 2010

Boaters on the Spokane River who use the Q’emiln Park boat launch ramp in Post Falls have only a few days left to use the launch this season. The ramp, located upstream of Avista’s Post Falls Dam, will be closed for the season beginning Monday, Nov. 15.

The boat launch is normally closed about this time each year because of weather conditions and dropping water levels. When Avista spills water through gates at the dam, the boat launch must remain closed for safety reasons. This can happen frequently throughout the fall through spring. Generally, the ramp re-opens in the late spring or early summer, depending on the amount of inflows into Coeur d’Alene Lake.

As a result of Avista’s annual drawdown of Coeur d’Alene Lake, Spokane River levels above the dam will be approximately three feet below the summer full-pool elevation of 2,128 feet on Nov.15. Water levels may drop by as much as five additional feet by the end of January.

These water levels are subject to change due to weather conditions, and river users are reminded that weather can cause conditions can change dramatically at any time. Please use caution on the water.

Avista has a 24-hour telephone information line that provides notification of anticipated elevation changes on Lake Coeur d’Alene, Lake Spokane and the Spokane River during the subsequent 24-hour and one-week periods. In Idaho, call (208) 769-1357; in Washington call (509) 495-8043.

The recorded information is provided to advise shoreline property owners, commercial and recreational users of changes in the lake and river elevation levels that may affect plans for water use.
 
Published: 11/11/2010  10:43 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Nov 10 , 2010
Post compiled from information provided by Patrick Maher

Temp
Climate Prediction Center: January, February, March 2011
Temperature Projections
Precip
Climate Prediction Center: January, February, March 2011
Precipitation Projections
It’s a long way from the Inland Northwest to the equator in the Pacific Ocean, but what’s happening there will probably have an impact on the region this winter.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center is projecting that the Pacific Northwest will have a colder and wetter than normal winter thanks to La Niña, which is associated with cooler than normal water temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean. The cooler water temperatures ultimately impact weather around the world and often lead to extreme weather events. Last winter was an El Niño year – the opposite weather pattern of La Niña - with higher than normal temperatures and little snow.

If the La Niña predictions hold true, it could again mean increased mountain snow in the Pacific Northwest and in western Montana. We know that’s good news for skiers, but what could it mean for Avista?

Above average snow in western Montana could mean increased hydro generation at our Cabinet Gorge and Noxon Rapids facilities depending upon actual snow fall amounts in the mountains and how the spring snow melt unfolds. The more gradual the snow melt, the more Avista can make use of the water in the rivers. The same applies to our six Spokane River hydro projects. About 60 percent of our total hydro generation comes from the Clark Fork basin with 23.5 percent coming from the Spokane River basin.

However, you never know what Mother Nature is going to do. According to the National Weather Service, not every La Niña is the same with a wide range of possible snowfall outcomes. For example, in Spokane the La Niña winters of 1949/1950, 1955/1956, 1974/1975, 2007/2008, and 2008/2009 resulted in over 80 inches of snowfall for the winter season. However, only 30-32 inches of snow was observed in the La Niña winters of 1967/1968, and 1970/1971. So while above average snowfall is more likely for a La Niña winter, it’s not a guarantee. But, it may be a good bet to have your snow blower gassed up and ready to go this winter, just in case.

Regardless of what this winter brings, we’ll have enough electricity and natural gas to safely and reliably meet the energy needs of our customers and provide them with first-class customer service.
 
More info
Avista obtains weather data from a number of sources such as the National Weather Service, Northwest River Forecast Center, DTN Weather and the Climate Prediction Center at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Avista uses long-term charts like the ones above from the Climate Prediction Center as information; however, short-term weather forecasts are one of the tools that are used to help determine the amount of electricity and natural gas that Avista may need to purchase in the daily or spot market to meet customer demand.

Forward looking statement
This article contains forward-looking statements regarding the company’s current expectations. Forward-looking statements are all statements other than historical facts. Such statements speak only as of the date of the article and are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond the company’s control, which could cause actual results to differ materially from the expectations. These risks and uncertainties include, in addition to those discussed herein, all of the factors discussed in the company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2009, and the Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2010.
Published: 11/10/2010  10:05 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Nov 09 , 2010
Wind and solar video
 
At the end of each video a sharing menu appears, making it simple and easy to get the word out
 
Energy on the Street sharing options
At the end of each video this menu appears with several
options for sharing, including e-mail, Facebook, Twitter,
Google, Blogger, Wordpress and more.
Post by Dan Kolbet

Thousands of you have already browsed Energy On The Street, our interactive customer engagement video project where we get answers to your most pressing questions. Earlier this month we added six new video Q&As, featuring topics such as rates, generation, rebates, renewables and bills. Today, 18 videos are available for you to view.
 
You can help spread the word about Energy on the Street by watching your favorite video and sharing it. Here’s how it works – at the end of each video a black and gray menu appears on screen with several options for sharing. (It looks like the image above). You can share the link through e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, Google, Blogger, Wordpress and more.
 
We still want to hear from you. E-mail us at Conversation@avistautilities.com to send in a question.
 
Published: 11/9/2010  4:19 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Nov 08 , 2010
Powering Our Future Slideshow
 
Post by Dan Kolbet
 
Click on the slideshow above to view images from Powering Our Future: Choices, Opportunities and Costs. These 23 photos capture much of the interaction and discussion during the event.
 
The interactive energy event was held in late October in Spokane Valley, drawing more than 200 attendees from Washington and Idaho. As part of our ongoing effort to engage customers and communities, we talked about forces at play in the energy industry, renewable energy, the role of energy efficiency, and more.
 
If you'd like to see captions with the images, click here.
 
Published: 11/8/2010  12:01 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Nov 08 , 2010
Power Down, Add Up
Post by Dan Kolbet

The Spokesman-Review article in today’s online edition, “Avista gears audits toward plugged-in college students,” is worth a look to see some of the practical applications uncovered during our recent  “Power Down, Add Up,” contest.

The article highlights a Gonzaga student who participated in the program that promoted 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.

Through October the contest was able to save 11585kWh (kilowatt hours) of electricity, which is equal to heat 220 homes per day; light 591 homes per day or power 419 homes per day. Pretty darn good!

Learn more about Power Down, Add up.
Published: 11/8/2010  11:44 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Nov 03 , 2010
Post by Dan Kolbet

Last Thursday Avista held its first Powering our Future event, bringing together hundreds of Avista customers and regional stakeholders to discuss the future energy.
 
I was lucky enough to be able to attend the event and hear from national speakers and some of Avista’s subject matter experts. You can check out a live stream of tweets from the event here: @Avistautilities, just scroll back to Thursday.
 
We're working on video highlights and photos of the day, and will share those as soon as they are available.

If you’re looking for a full recap now, look no further than Jan Fletcher’s article at Spokane Business Women, “Over 200 attend Avista’s ‘Powering Our Future’ conference.” Fletcher goes in depth in a full rundown of the day, noting interesting comments from speakers and attendees. She even produced two videos, interviewing attendees.
 
Published: 11/3/2010  8:33 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Nov 02 , 2010
Avista's Energy Fair 2010
Avista's Energy Fair is scheduled for Saturday Nov. 6,
from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Spokane Community
College (SCC) Lair Student Center (Building 6), 1810
North Greene Street.
Post by Jessie Wuerst

What are you doing this Saturday? Fun, food, and oh, yes, some valuable information are the bills of fare at the Avista Energy Fair is scheduled for Saturday Nov. 6, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Spokane Community College (SCC) Lair Student Center (Building 6), 1810 North Greene Street. This is a great time of year to think about keeping your home warm and safe this winter.
 
The event will be filled with demonstrations and workshops on low cost, no cost energy efficiency tips to and provide information about billing assistance. In addition, community organizations, including Community Colleges of Spokane, WorkSource Spokane, Goodwill, Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery, SNAP and others, will be on hand to answer questions about employment assistance, weatherization, housing, childcare and other topics. A full list of exhibitors is available here: www.avistautilities.com/community/energyfair2010.

And the best part is – it’s all FREE! Admission to the event includes access to all demonstrations and workshops, free samples of materials, complimentary food and beverages, and door prizes.

We are pleased once again to partner with Community Colleges of Spokane on the Energy Fair. The event provides a great way for customers to conveniently access Avista’s many services, as well as valuable community services. Information about payment options, energy assistance and energy efficiency will be especially helpful to those struggling to pay their bills. The fair will also benefit anyone who wants to learn how to better manage their energy costs.”

Fair attendees can speak with Avista staff and learn first-hand about low-cost and no-cost energy efficiency tips and tricks. They’ll see how to install such things as rope caulking, window plastic and door sweeps to help keep the warm air in their homes and the cold air out. And following each demonstration, free samples of each item will be distributed.

For the kids, and the kids at heart, Wattson, Avista’s Energy Watchdog, will guide attendees through fun, energy-focused crafts and presentations of his musical message of energy efficiency and safety.

Come on out and join us!
 
Published: 11/2/2010  4:01 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

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