Nov 01 , 2011

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Post by Dan Kolbet
 
If you're a customer in Eastern Washington (like me), you may have recieved the following invitation to the Avista Energy Fair at the West Central Community Center. Just in case, I thought I'd re-post the invite here.
 
Dear Avista Customer,
 
We would like to invite you to the Avista Energy Fair at the West Central Community Center located at 1603 N. Belt, Spokane, WA on Thursday, November 3, 2011, from 4:00pm to 7:00pm.
 
Wattson
Avista employees and community service providers will be on hand to answer questions about the following: 
• Bill Assistance – Avista customer service representatives can answer billing questions, provide information about payment options and refer to energy assistance programs. You can also learn how to use Avista’s free online Bill Analyzer.
• Energy Efficiency – See low-cost and no-cost efficiency demonstrations to help keep your home warm like rope caulking, door sweeps and window plastic. Free samples will be handed out.
• Community Assistance – Avista and community service providers will be on hand to answer questions about energy assistance, weatherization and other topics.
• Kids Meet Wattson – Stop by and see Wattson the Energy Watchdog! Kids' activities include crafts, dancing and interactive games
 
Parking is free and there will be complimentary food and beverages, door prizes and activities for the kids.
 
Avista will make every effort to provide reasonable accommodations requested for individuals with disabilities.  Please contact Lisa at Avista, (509) 495-8024 or email lisa.lee@avistacorp.com if accommodations are needed.
 
Sincerely,
 
Avista Utilities
Published: 11/1/2011  3:01 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Oct 27 , 2011
Post by Dan Kolbet
 
The temperature is dropping and you are likely to feel the chill. So if someone knocks on your door and wants to make sure you home has enough insulation or good windows, you might be tempted to let them in. Unfortunately, sometimes they drop Avista’s name – and they do not work for us. So I wanted to share with you Avista’s standard business practices that can keep you safe from scams and misrepresentations.

Avista employee
Avista field employees always wear an Avista
photo identification badge and often wear Avista
apparel and drive clearly marked Avista vehicles
.
Avista does not partner with any business that goes door-to-door through neighborhoods selling attic insulation or other services, except for our Home Energy Audit contractors in Spokane County who wear Avista identification badges. We also do not recommend any business to our customers. We do offer a number of energy efficiency rebates and incentives, but we work directly with you, our customer, on those programs.

Our field employees always wear an Avista photo ID badge and often will be wearing Avista apparel and driving a clearly marked Avista vehicle (may be a magnet on the side). Employees typically do not need access to a home or business unless the customer has contacted us about a specific problem or program.  Also, employees do not phone or email customers asking for confidential information.

If you are contacted by someone representing themselves as Avista, you can call us at any time at (800) 227-9187 to verify the identification of an employee and the purpose of the contact with you. It pays to be cautious and we welcome your call.
Published: 10/27/2011  3:58 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Oct 27 , 2011
Noxon pics
 
Post by Brandi Smith
 
What weighs 120 tons and has been generating clean and reliable hydropower for 52 years? A turbine runner at Noxon Rapids Dam that has been in service since the dam’s opening in 1959.

On October 19, the project reached a milestone. The last turbine to be upgraded at Noxon Rapids Dam was removed from service. The removal of the turbine is part of a $45 million project to upgrade four original generating units with newer, more efficient technology. The project started in July 2008 and is on schedule to be finished by spring 2012.

The upgraded units are expected to increase the total generating capacity of the dam by an estimated 30 megawatts. The upgrades enhance Avista’s ability to serve our customers because it lets us generate more power using the same amount of water, rather than securing it somewhere else. The new turbines also boast features such as smooth edges and corners and a stainless steel body that weighs just 65 tons. The incremental energy they produce is already helping Avista meet its Washington State renewable portfolio standards as well.

Removing an old turbine isn’t easy business. They are cast steel beasts weighing approximately 120 tons. The prep work alone takes hundreds of hours of skilled labor and craftsmanship to get the turbine ready for retirement. Once the big day comes, a large crane is used to lift it out of the penstock. It’s a slow and careful process that takes a full day to complete, which makes Noxon Rapids’ stellar safety record of 20 years and counting for zero lost-time accidents even more impressive.

The final new replacement turbine is expected to be in service by spring 2012. As for the old turbine, we hope to move it to the dam’s public viewing area as an added attraction to an already beautiful and scenic park.
Published: 10/27/2011  3:47 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Oct 18 , 2011
Hockey Night in Spokane is also energy efficiency night
 
Post by Dan Kolbet

Chiefs
Avista is hosting an energy efficiency night with the Spokane Chiefs on Friday, Oct. 21. The event will help raise awareness of energy efficiency and Avista’s programs. Employees from Demand Side Management will staff an informational table at the Spokane Arena to share information and answer customers questions.

Throughout the night the Chiefs will announce energy efficiency tips and feature performances by Wattson, Avista’s energy watchdog.

The first 5,000 attendees will receive a souvenir flashing glow light – perfect for trick or treating safety. Attendees will also be able to enter to win an energy efficient washer and dryer. Sorry, employees aren’t eligible.

Avista employees are encouraged to stop by the informational table to show your support and say hello to your co-workers who will be sharing the message of energy efficiency with our customers.
 
Published: 10/18/2011  3:28 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Oct 18 , 2011
 
Cold weather is on the way – there’s no getting around it. So, before it hits with all its fury, it’s a good time to reach out and provide information about bill assistance and energy efficiency. Two Avista Energy Fairs are scheduled this fall to do just that – Lewiston/Clarkston on October 22 and Spokane on November 3.

“We’ve done two fairs in Spokane and one in Coeur d’Alene over the past year and they have been well attended. We’re pleased that people are finding value in the energy efficiency demonstrations and weatherization materials they receive,” said Anne Marie Axworthy, Avista’s director of consumer affairs. “It’s great to take customer service opportunities like the Energy Fair out to where it’s convenient for our customers. Our hope is that the information about billing options, energy assistance and energy efficiency is helpful to those struggling to pay their bills and also of benefit for anyone who wants to better manage their energy use.”

Avista employees and community service providers will be on hand to answer questions about the following:
 
• Bill Assistance – Avista customer service representatives will answer billing questions, provide information about payment options and refer customers to energy assistance programs. And they will demonstrate how to use Avista’s free online Bill Analyzer to get more information about managing your energy bill.
• Energy Efficiency – See low-cost and no-cost efficiency demonstrations to help keep your home warm like rope caulking, door sweeps and window plastic. Free samples will be handed out.
• Community Assistance – Avista and community service providers will be on hand to answer questions about energy assistance, weatherization, and other topics.

For the kids, and the kids at heart, Wattson, Avista’s energy watchdog, will guide attendees through his musical message of energy efficiency and safety. Employee volunteers will have craft projects and interactive activities available to keep little hands busy while taking a break from the information tables. Food and beverages, door prizes and a grand prize basket that includes a Housewarming Certificate will also be available to all participants.

What you need to know
Saturday, October 22: Walla Walla Community College, 1470 Bridge St., Clarkston, Wash. 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
 
Thursday, November 3: West Central Community Center, 1603 N. Belt St., Spokane, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Published: 10/18/2011  3:21 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Oct 13 , 2011
Post by Dan Kolbet

Avista employees at UW Day of Action
On Sept. 21, 15 employees from Avista’s Human Resources department joined more than 200 employees from 22 local companies who volunteered their time for the Spokane County United Way annual Day of Action.

The Day of Action volunteers lent a helping hand to local organizations by painting, gardening, laying bark, building shelves, and distributing food from the 2nd Harvest Mobile Food bank.

The Spokane County United Way Day of Action and its volunteers are just another example of how Avista employees give back to the communities that we all live and work in.
 
Published: 10/13/2011  11:04 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Oct 13 , 2011
Avista employees and contractors commended for overhead to underground power line work for the Priest River Experimental Forest
Click to read letter
 
Avista recently converted two miles of overhead electric lines to underground service for the Priest River Experimental Forest.

Located about 13 miles Northeast of Priest River, the Priest River Experimental Forest, established in 1911, is one of the first and few experimental forests in the nation. This month, it is celebrating its 100-year anniversary. Avista’s professional and efficient work to convert lines to underground has helped improve service reliability and a more aesthetically pleasing environment.

For 100 years, scientists and forestry service personnel at the Priest River Experimental Forest have conducted research ranging from timber management to fire research. Research done at Priest River Experimental Forest continues to benefit forests throughout the world.

Below is a letter of thanks, sent to Director of Operations – West Al Fisher from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Robert Denner, supervisory forester of the Priest River Experimental Forest and Dr. Russel Graham, scientist-in-charge of the Rocky Mountain Research Station.

The work mentioned in the letter was thanks to several Avista employees who work in the area. The letter reads:

Dear Mr. Fisher:

I want to take this opportunity to thank Avista for the recently completed project at the Priest River Experimental Forest. This project converted the overhead lines providing power to residences, office, shop, and conference building to underground.

The end result vastly improves the visual quality of the site, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. But more importantly, will eliminate outages caused by falling trees, reduce your maintenance costs, and the inconvenience to our resident and guests during outages. I should also mention that the Forest is about to enter its 100th anniversary, so the timing of the work could not have been better.

I was particularly impressed by the professional manner in which the work was done. The plowing contractor, your own crew, and the local representative, Chad Summers, went about their work in a courteous and efficient manner. We did have some tense moments when avoiding buried telephone lines, water mains, sewer lines, and foundation drains; however, nothing was damaged and there were no interruptions to our infrastructure. No doubt the competency of your employees had everything to do with that. I should also mention that the final clean-up was beyond my expectations and for that I am grateful.

Again, thank you for making this happen. And congratulations for having an outstanding bunch of guys working for Avista.

Sincerely,
 
-Robert Denner, U.S. Department of Agriculture, supervisory forester of the Priest River Experimental Forest and Dr. Russel Graham, scientist-in-charge of the Rocky Mountain Research Station.
 

 
Published: 10/13/2011  10:08 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Oct 13 , 2011
Post by Dan Kolbet
 
Today, our Idaho customers will recieve an email from us, detailing why rates changed slightly on Oct. 1. Pasted below is the message from Avista Utilities President Dennis Vermillion.
 
If you have any questions about this email, or anything really, contact me at conversation@avistautilities.com
 
 
Dear Avista Customer,
Electric and natural gas rates changed October 1. Here's why.
 
On the first of this month the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (IPUC) announced changes to Avista’s electric and natural gas rates in Idaho. Your electric rates will decrease 2.1 percent, while natural gas rates will increase 0.3 percent. Avista doesn’t change rates on its own. The IPUC sets the rates you pay after Avista requests a change and provides the reasons for it.
 
As you might expect, a few increases and decreases combined to make up the final rate changes. Avista is continuing to invest in and maintain the electric and natural gas systems that serve you and because of that, some portions of your bill are increasing, but those are largely off-set by other rate components that have decreased. Learn more about the components.
 
Avista has agreed to keep base rates at this new level until at least April 1, 2013, although we may file for changes prior to that date. The IPUC has seven months to approve a general rate case. This doesn’t mean rates won’t change at all in 2012, as we will also continue to file annual requests to true-up the actual cost of natural gas and electricity.
 
We know how much any rate change impacts you and your monthly budget, that’s why we’re working hard to manage our costs while providing the safe, reliable service you expect from us.
 
The winter heating season is almost here, so if you’d like to learn more about managing your monthly bill, visit us here. It’s also not too late to prepare your home to save energy, view low cost or no cost tips here.
 
Sincerely,
 
Dennis Vermillion
President, Avista Utilities
Published: 10/13/2011  9:45 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Oct 05 , 2011
Scott Morris at the WSU Spokane Biomedical and Health Sciences Building groundbreaking.
 
Post/photo by Dan Kolbet
 
Avista CEO Scott Morris speaks at the groundbreaking ceremony for the WSU Spokane Biomedical and Health Sciences Building in Spokane’s University District. Morris was the co-chair of the Academic Health Science Center Steering Committee. Morris has said previously that such a project “in Spokane would be a catalyst for creating new and sustained growth for the entire region. The Spokane business community strongly supports this initiative and is ready to collaborate to make it happen.”
 
Published: 10/5/2011  4:15 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Oct 04 , 2011

Day focuses on fields of mathematics, science and engineering

 

Post by Dan Kolbet  

 

As I go about my daily activities here at Avista I run into lots of employees who are skilled at mathematics, science and engineering – that’s why Avista wanted them as employees. But those skill sets are critical not just to the utility industry, but so many other fields as well.

 

Encouraging young people, especially young women, to focus on these skills is important to Avista and our community. That’s why we’re supporting the Expanding Your Horizons event for girls, grades 6-12 at Gonzaga University on Oct. 15., from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.  The cost is $20.  The event provides the chance to meet women in exciting fields and experience hands-on demos related to those careers.  While the event is sponsored by the Girl Scouts, it is open to all girls, not just Scouts. They have room for up to 200 girls and hope to fill the venue. 

 

I’ve seen pictures from past events and it looks like a great time. According to the organizers, past feedback indicates this is an awesome and fun day for young women to show them all the possibilities for the future. Information and registration visit http://www.gsewni.org

 

This event is the kick-off for Careers in Energy Week - a national week to highlight great opportunities in our industry. Washington Governor Christine Gregoire is expected to proclaim Careers in Energy Week, in Washington State, and Spokane Mayor Mary Verner will also issue a proclamation for Spokane.

 

It’s tough for students to participate in this event if they don’t know about it. Please pass this information along to young women in your life who might be interested.

 

View a flyer on the event, which includes additional details.

 

More info

For more information and registration visit http://www.gsewni.org.  Or contact Sarah Betts, sbetts@gsewni.org or 800-827-9478 ext. 225

Published: 10/4/2011  10:38 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

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