Feb 25 , 2011
Snow vid
 
Don’t forget to clear a path to your meters too
 
Post by Dan Kolbet

I got a lot of grief last November when I posted a video about clearing a path to your meter using my snow blower. Why did I use it when I only had a tiny little strip to clear? What a wimp, right? To selfishly vindicate myself I created the video shown above yesterday morning before work. Here’s the work that I didn’t show.

Can you snowblow your driveway in less than a minute?

Got a video or pics of your meters (cleared of snow)? E-mail them my way.

And don’t forget to clear a path to your meters (even if it is February and it really shouldn't be snowing anyway.)
Published: 2/25/2011  10:19 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Feb 10 , 2011
Ducks in Avista's Mission Campus cooling pond
Some local winged residents spend quite a bit of time in Avista's Mission Campus HVAC cooling pond. We're
happy to have them.

Avista project receives LEED Gold Certification
 

The HVAC cooling pond

The pond in front of our HQ building isn't just decoration.
It's an important piece of our heating, ventilation and air
conditioning system.
Post by Debbie Simock
 
If you’re familiar with the Avista headquarters building, you’ve probably seen a few ducks and geese enjoying the landscaping pond in winter. But did you know that the pond isn’t just for looks?

It’s actually a cooling pond for our building’s HVAC system (heating, ventilation and air conditioning). The water used to heat and cool the building is pumped from a well and pushed through the HVAC system before flowing into the decorative cooling pond. After the unaltered water is cool, it’s released into the Spokane River. The system is efficient, environmentally friendly and was very innovative when it was installed in 1958. In fact, the system is still innovative.

It’s that early innovation along with our continuing focus on energy efficiency and sustainability that have helped Avista receive a coveted LEED Gold Certification for the first phase of a five-year project to replace the 54-year-old HVAC in our headquarters building. We’re also removing asbestos as part of the project and adding other energy-saving measures. It’s important that we do what we encourage our customers to do - reduce energy use.
 

LEED

The building’s new high efficiency HVAC system includes new energy saving technology that, among other benefits, will provide a healthier environment for employees. The system still uses the existing well-water system to cool our building rather than a mechanical system, and that should keep the neighborhood wildlife happy.
Published: 2/10/2011  1:08 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Feb 10 , 2011
WSU Cable 8 Video
 
Post by Dan Kolbet

An advanced meter
An advanced meter that will be used on the
project.
Washington State University student Tyler Slauson, of WSU’s Cable 8 News, recently produced the above video on Avista’s Pullman Smart Grid Project. The report provides a good overview of the project that will soon be ramping up in the community.

Read more about the project or listen Tyler's audio from Northwest Public radio: “Smart Technology Will Increase Energy Efficiency And Reliability

If you’d like to learn more about the project check out the Pullman Smart Grid Project section of our website.

If you’re a WSU student or member of the community and would like us to feature your video, podcast or article about the smart grid project or anything else concerning Avista or energy, send us an e-mail here at the Avista Blog to make it happen.

 
Published: 2/10/2011  10:11 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Feb 08 , 2011
ANGA video
 
Post by Dan Kolbet
Video by American Natural Gas Alliance
 
Later this month you may hear about a documentary film called Gasland which focuses on elements of natural gas exploration and drilling. It has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary. The award show is Sunday, Feb. 27.

Gasland uses theatrics, half-truths or complete falsehoods to describe natural gas development in the United States. The film particularly focuses on hydraulic fracturing or fracking, a decades-old technique used to drill for natural gas inside the earth.

Here are a few quick things you should know about natural gas development and Avista.

• Natural gas exploration and drilling is subject to federal, state and local regulations.
• Thousands of natural gas wells have been hydraulically fractured without incident.
• Avista primarily distributes natural gas to homes and businesses or uses  natural gas in gas-fired turbines to generate electricity

The American Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) has created a video called, “The Truth About Gasland,” which debunks specific claims made in Gasland. The ANGA video embedded above, click it to watch.

For more information from ANGA about specific topics discussed in Gasland, click here.
 
If you have specific questions about natural gas, send us an e-mail here.
 
Published: 2/8/2011  2:13 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Feb 07 , 2011
Drafts video

You paid to heat it, you might as well keep it. Stopping drafts around the windows and doors of your home can greatly improve your comfort and hopefully reduce your energy use. Watch the video for some simple tips.
Published: 2/7/2011  2:37 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Feb 01 , 2011
Agreement also filed on 2009 state tax report that would provide continued refund to customers under Oregon SB 408
 

This morning Avista and all other parties involved in the company’s natural gas general rate case filing announced they have reached a settlement agreement that, if approved by the Public Utility Commission of Oregon (PUC), would result in an overall increase in billed rates of 3.1 percent.

If the settlement agreement is approved, a residential customer using an average of 46 therms per month could expect to see an increase of about $1.31 per month, or 2.3 percent, for a revised monthly bill of approximately $59.45, effective March 15. Included in the rate change is an increase in the monthly basic charge from $6.50 to $7.00. On June 1, an increase of about $0.63 per month, or 1.1 percent, would become effective for a revised monthly bill of about $60.08. Overall rate increases for commercial and industrial customers vary between 0.6 percent and 3.3 percent, depending on the rate schedule.

The settlement agreement sets Avista’s rate of return on rate base at 8.0 percent, with a common equity ratio of 50 percent and a 10.10 percent return on equity. Revenues are expected to increase by approximately $2.0 million effective March 15 and by approximately $1.0 million effective June 1 for an overall $2.975 million to recover expenses and capital investments made by Avista to its distribution system to ensure the safe, reliable delivery of natural gas to over 95,000 Oregon customers.

“We are pleased that the parties were able to reach a joint recommendation to the commission that resolves all the issues in this case and that is in the best interest of our customers and shareholders,” said Dennis Vermillion, president of Avista Utilities.

The settlement agreement also provides for deferred accounting treatment for two capital additions – the second phase of the Roseburg Reinforcement Project and the Medford Integrity Management Pipe Replacement Project - to be completed by Nov. 1, 2011, and for a subsequent rate adjustment of approximately $0.6 million on June 1, 2012, to recover the prudently incurred costs for the two projects.

In a separate action today, Avista filed a stipulation agreement with the PUC that, if approved, would refund $1.2 million to customers as a result of revised 2009 tax calculations based on Oregon’s Senate Bill 408. The bill requires that most Oregon public utilities file an annual tax report on the amount of taxes paid by the utility compared with the amount of taxes collected through customer rates.

If the stipulation agreement is approved, customers would continue to receive a refund rate of about 1 percent which is similar to the refund rate that is currently being passed back to customers.

In addition to Avista, the parties to both the general rate case settlement agreement and the Senate Bill 408 stipulation agreement are the staff of the Oregon PUC, the Citizens’ Utility Board and the Northwest Industrial Gas Users. The PUC is not bound by either settlement agreement.
 
Customer Assistance
To help customers manage their energy use and costs, Avista offers a number of energy efficiency programs for residential, commercial and industrial customers. In 2010, over $950,000 in energy efficiency incentives and rebates were returned to Oregon customers.

In addition to support for energy assistance programs like Project Share, Avista also offers services for customers such as comfort level billing, payment arrangements and Customer Assistance Referral and Evaluation Services (CARES), which provide assistance to special-needs customers through referrals to area agencies and churches for help.
Published: 2/1/2011  8:34 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post