Dec 22 , 2011

By Dan Kolbet

New York Times
The New York Times blog Green, which focuses on energy and the environment, recently featured Avista’s innovative Bull Trout genetic testing work on the Clark Fork River. We’re doing the project as part of our FERC license to operate the Cabinet Gorge and Noxon Rapids dams on the river. The ultimate goal is to protect the genetic integrity of the fish and boost their numbers. It’s a pretty cool project and it’s nice to see this national recognition.

Here are the first couple paragraphs of the article. See the full article here.

Trucking Trout to Their Native Streams

By Deborah Weisberg, NY TImes

In an innovative conservation effort, biologists on the Clark Fork River are using genetic testing to help get bull trout back to their natal streams to spawn.

Fulfilling a requirement for the relicensing of its two hydroelectric power plants on the river in Idaho and Montana, Avista Utilities is having the fin tissue of randomly caught adult bull trout “fingerprinted.” Juvenile fish in the natal streams are also sampled to determine whether they carry the DNA of the adults.

Continue Reading at the New York Times website here.

Published: 12/22/2011  9:04 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Dec 16 , 2011
Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission approves multi-party settlement agreement, including increase in energy assistance funding for customers
 
News Release by Debbie Simock
 
Avista received approval today from the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) on the multi-party settlement agreement, concluding the company’s electric and natural gas rate requests in Washington. New customer rates will be effective Jan. 1, 2012. Avista made the requests to the UTC on May 16, 2011, followed by a multi--party settlement agreement on Sept. 30, 2011.

“Energy impacts every aspect of our lives. It’s our job to make sure customers can depend on having energy when they need it and that requires a reliable energy delivery system,” said Dennis Vermillion, Avista Corp. senior vice president and president of Avista Utilities. “We are pleased the Commission recognized the need for retail rates to reflect the increased costs necessary to operate our system.”

The approved rates are designed to provide an additional $20.0 million in annual electric revenue and $3.75 million in natural gas annual revenues to recover, among other things, increased investment in Avista’s energy system. The new prices reflect an overall electric increase of 4.5 percent in billed rates and a natural gas increase of 2.5 percent in billed rates.

Effective Jan. 1, 2012, a residential customer using an average of 977 kilowatt-hours of electricity a month would see an increase of $3.02, or 4.0 percent, for a revised monthly bill of $78.00. A residential natural gas customer using an average of 67 therms a month would see a $1.76, or 2.8 percent, increase a month for a revised monthly bill of $64.63. Avista serves more than 234,000 electric and nearly 147,000 natural gas customers in Washington.

Additional annual funding of $550,000 in direct energy bill payment assistance for limited income and senior customers will be available as a result of the UTC approval. The increase includes $370,000 in new funding for Avista’s Low Income Rate Assistance Program (LIRAP), plus $180,000 in reallocated funds from the utility’s conservation education program. In total, annual funding available for the LIRAP program to assist qualifying customers would be approximately $3.6 million for electric customers and approximately $1.8 million for natural gas customers. The LIRAP program is funded through a separate tariff.

Information on energy assistance programs and energy efficiency rebates and incentives for customers is available at www.avistautilities.com.

The UTC has requested a more detailed breakdown of executive compensation for informational purposes. Avista will provide the requested information by the February 29, 2012, deadline.

Avista Corp. is an energy company involved in the production, transmission and distribution of energy as well as other energy-related businesses. Avista Utilities is our operating division that provides electric service to 357,000 customers and natural gas to 317,000 customers. Our service territory covers 30,000 square miles in eastern Washington, northern Idaho and parts of southern and eastern Oregon, with a population of 1.5 million.  Avista’s primary, non-regulated subsidiary is Ecova, an energy and sustainability management company with more than 500 multi-site commercial and utility customers, representing more than 450,000 sites.  Our stock is traded under the ticker symbol “AVA.”  For more information about Avista, please visit www.avistacorp.com.

This news release 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 news release 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, 2010 and the Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2011.
Published: 12/16/2011  6:51 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Dec 12 , 2011
Kite video
Avista linemen show what can happen when something, like a
kite (above video) or pole (below photo) touches a live wire.
You don’t want that to be you.
Electrical arc
Thief escapes potential electrocution; live wires are no joke
 
Someone is walking around today not knowing that he or she just received the biggest Christmas present ever - life. Without realizing it, that individual was less than a millimeter away from being electrocuted last Thursday while trying to steal copper wire from energized electrical equipment in the Post Falls area. It was the third copper theft involving electrical equipment in the Rathdrum, Coeur d’Alene, Post Falls area in the past few weeks.

A perpetrator isn’t the only person at risk with copper wire theft. Tampering with electric equipment can result in electrocution of utility workers and customers. It also costs Avista customers since replacing the stolen equipment raises the cost of maintaining our system. And, copper theft can cause power outages that disrupt businesses, schools, essential services and life in general.

We need your help to prevent this type of crime and help prevent a serious injury to someone, even death. Call Avista at (800) 227-9187 or law enforcement if you see:
• people cutting or removing wires or equipment from power facilities
• missing sections of power lines
• loose wires hanging from poles or lying on the ground
• holes in fences or cut locks at electric facilities
• people with bundles of wire

If you don’t know what coming into contact with, or touching an energized power line looks like, check out the video clip above of a safety demonstration by two Avista linemen. Remember that you should always consider an electric wire to be energized, so stay away and call us: (800) 227-9187.

Published: 12/12/2011  10:23 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Dec 09 , 2011
Your rates dollars at work: pipeline reinforces service to Clarkston area

Post by Dan Kolbet

Clarkston pipeline work.
Since mid-July Avista contract crews have been working on a 2.8-mile natural gas line extension in the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley that will help reinforce gas service to Avista customers in the Clarkston area.

The new six-inch steel high pressure natural gas line was installed on the Clarkston, Wash., side of the Snake River and is fed through an existing line from Lewiston, Idaho. In early December the line underwent a successful pressure test and is now in service, providing homes and businesses with winter heat.

There a still a few asphalt patches that will be spruced up along the project corridor, but that should be wrapped up shortly.

Employees and contractors reported that customers in the area have been wonderful to work with and talk to about the project.

An unexpected benefit of the project to customers and the public came in the form of safety lighting on the Greenbelt Trail, a popular recreation area, where the new line was installed. In order to install the new pipeline, Avista needed to access land managed by the Army Corp of Engineers. As in-kind consideration in lieu of fees for conducting this project, Avista will install 46 lights along the trail from Chestnut Beach to Swallows Boat Ramp parking lot, at an approximate cost of $71,500. The new lights, to be installed later this year, will improve the safety of visitors who use the Greenbelt Trail.

Roughly 4,000 feet of conduit has already been installed for the lighting project that is expected to be complete around March 2012, but is dependent on winter.

This new natural gas pipeline is a great example of where your rates dollars go – providing you safe, reliable gas service.
Published: 12/9/2011  12:13 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Dec 08 , 2011
Post by Debbie Simock
 
When you look around your garage, shed or home, can you spot what could be costing you up to $100 a year to run?  If you have a refrigerator or freezer built before 1990, it’s consuming up to four times more energy than a new, more efficient model and costing you more to use.

Recycle
With Avista’s Refrigerator Recycling Program, you can earn $30 to recycle your old refrigerator or freezer. You also have the option of donating your rebate to Project Share - a customer, community and Avista funded program that provides one-time emergency energy assistance to help families in need in our region.

Here’s what you need to do:
• Be an Avista electric customer
• Own the appliance you want to recycle
• Make sure your unit is in good working condition
• See if it was manufactured in 1995 or earlier
• Call (877) 577-0510 to schedule a free pickup or visit everylittlebit.com for more information
• When scheduling  your refrigerator or freezer pick-up, let the customer representatives know if you would like to donate your rebate to Project Share

Our partner JACO Environmental will pick up your old refrigerator or freezer which will be dismantled and recycled through a process that returns up to 95 percent of each unit back into the manufacturing stream.

If you’re purchasing a new Energy Star refrigerator or freezer, check out our energy efficiency appliance rebates at everylittlebit.com.
Published: 12/8/2011  4:27 PM | 1  Comment | 0  Links to this post

Dec 07 , 2011
Project Warm-Up
Avista employees support Project Warm-Up and recently helped prepare 6,500 items for distribution to agencies that will
get them to people in need.

Post by Ana Matthews

Project Warm-Up is a program of RSVP of Spokane County, which is sponsored by the YMCA of the Inland Northwest that is celebrating its 25th year in 2011.

Project Warm-Up work
Avista employees sort, bag and tag Project Warm-Up items
in one of the company's warehouses.
Each year, Project Warm-Up provides thousands of Spokane individuals, through 53 local non-profit agencies, with items to stay warm during the bitter winter months. Throughout the year, 220 volunteers knit, crochet, “knifty” knit and quilt items. Since the program’s inception, approximately 94,000 items have been provided to individuals in need.

Teri Wallace, the Program Coordinator, shared that the youngest volunteer is eight years old and the oldest is 94. The majority of volunteers are housebound and Project Warm-Up is their way of being able to give back to the community from their home. Knowing they are helping someone in need gives the volunteers a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Other volunteers are people who live in retirement apartment complexes or assisted living facilities, are high school aged individuals who are fulfilling a community service requirement or even younger who just think it is fun.

Project Warm-up is one of the many community programs that Avista employees enthusiastically give their time and energy to support. This year, Avista employees successfully prepared 6,500 items for distribution to agencies that will get them to people in need. Over a four-day period in November, Avista employees loaded, sorted, counted, and unloaded all of the items that had been stored in one of our facilities all year.

In addition to the preparation and storage of the items, Avista also supports Project Warm-Up by providing monetary contributions to purchase the yarn the volunteers use to make thousands of beautiful warm scarves, hats, booties, youth outfits, and blankets.

Over the last 25 years, it’s wonderful to think of how much Project Warm-Up items have meant to those who create them, and to those who enjoy their warmth.
Published: 12/7/2011  2:27 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Dec 01 , 2011

Video Contest

 
If you have a creative high school student at your house, here’s an idea that can pay off in more ways than one – Avista’s third annual Every Little Bit video contest.

By creating and submitting a 30-second to two minute video about ways we can all limit our energy use, students attending high schools served by Avista could receive a $1,500 or $2,500 tech grant for their school. Plus, students could receive individual awards like an iPad 2, iPod Nano and iTunes gift card.

Videos must be uploaded to Avista’s website – www.everylittlebitvideo.com – by Dec. 16. Visitors to the site can vote online for their favorite video until Jan. 13, 2012, when a panel of judges will select the video winners. Judging criteria will include energy efficiency message, originality of approach, creativity, design and style.

Participating in the video contest could have lasting benefits. We hope that by engaging youth in the importance of energy efficiency today, it will help them value saving energy even more when they become customers tomorrow.

Information about the Every Little Bit video contest is at www.everylittlebitvideo.com or www.facebook.com/everylittlebit where you can also watch the 2010 winning videos.
Published: 12/1/2011  10:52 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Dec 01 , 2011
Post by Debbie Simock

Go to Facebook
If you’re an Avista customer who is renting your residence, you can receive a free energy efficiency kit to help make sure you aren’t being a powermonger, and all you need to do is “Like” us on our Every Little Bit Facebook page.

While supplies last, we’re giving away 1,000 Powermonger kits that include a power timer socket, switch and socket insulators, shower coach, shrink-fit window insulation film and other energy savings tools. If you’d like a free kit, go to Every Little Bit Facebook page and “Like” us. If you aren’t on Facebook, you can get a kit by sending an email to kelly.conley@avistacorp.com.

The Powermonger kit is the newest addition to Avista’s suite of energy efficiency programs, all created to provide resources and incentives to help customers manage their energy use. That’s important because we’re using more electric devices to power our lives than ever before.

Next time you’re on Facebook, check out the Every Little Bit page and “Like” us.
Published: 12/1/2011  9:56 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post