Nov 22 , 2010
News release from Nov. 19, 2010
 
Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission approves all-party settlement agreement

Avista received approval today from the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC) on the all-party settlement agreement, concluding the company’s electric and natural gas rate request in Washington. New customer rates will be effective Dec. 1, 2010. Avista made the requests to the WUTC on March 23, 2010 followed by an all-party settlement agreement on Aug. 25, 2010.

“Avista is committed to providing our customers with the safe, reliable energy they need at a fair price,” said Avista Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Scott L. Morris. “We are pleased the Commission recognized the need for our retail rates to reflect the increased costs necessary to operate and maintain our energy delivery system.”

The new prices reflect an overall electric increase of 7.2 percent in billed rates and a natural gas increase of 3.2 percent in billed rates. These rates are designed to increase annual electric revenues by $29.5 million and natural gas annual revenues by $4.6 million. The approved overall rate of return is 7.91 percent with a common equity ratio of 46.5 percent and a 10.2 percent return on equity.

When the new prices become effective, a residential customer will see an increase of $5.62, or 7.8 percent, for each 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity used per month. A residential natural gas customer will see an increase of $2.17, or 3.6 percent, for each 69 therms used per month.  Avista serves more than 234,000 electric and nearly 147,000 natural gas customers in Washington.

Funding for Avista’s Low-Income Ratepayer Assistance Program (LIRAP), which provides energy assistance for qualifying customers, will increase by 7.4 percent or $0.71 a month for electric customers and 2.9 percent or $0.62 a month for natural gas customers. With this increase, the annual funding level for electric low-income customers will be approximately $3.3 million and approximately $1.7 million for natural gas customers.

The approval will also allow Avista to increase funding for its low-income weatherization program by $500,000 making a total of $2 million in assistance available to help qualifying customers improve the energy efficiency of their homes.

Information on energy assistance programs and energy efficiency rebates and incentives for customers is available by clicking on these links.

 
Published: 11/22/2010  10:55 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

Aug 02 , 2010
Avista Stadium
We took this picture of the Avista Stadium sign two weeks ago,
between customer interviews for Energy on the Street. If you want to
attend an Indians game this week – try to go tomorrow so your ticket
sales will benefit Project Share.
Post by Dan Kolbet

Looking to attend a Spokane Indians game this week? How about tomorrow? Avista and the Indians have teamed up to donate money to Project Share for tickets sold for the game on Tuesday, August 3.

The Indians will donate 50 cents of every walk-up ticket sold for the game to the Avista Project Share program in order to raise funds and bring awareness of need in our area.

Project Share is a customer, community, and company-funded program that provides one-time emergency assistance to families in our region. 

With the Project Share program, 100 percent of every dollar donated is forwarded to community action agencies for distribution to those who qualify. Energy assistance is provided without regard to the source of heat or providing utility company.

For fans who can't make it to the Indians game on the 3rd, but still want to donate to Project Share, there are three other ways to contribute. You can donate online at www.avistautilities.com, you can add a donation to your next monthly payment or send a check to Project Share, P.O. Box 3727, Spokane, WA 99202.

Tuesday’s game against the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes starts at 6:30 p.m., gates open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are available by calling the Avista Stadium Ticket Office at 509-343-OTTO (6886) or visiting www.spokaneindiansbaseball.com. You can also purchase tickets at any TicketsWest outlet, by calling 1-800-325-SEAT, or visit www.ticketswest.com.
Published: 8/2/2010  11:52 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Jul 26 , 2010
Post by Debbie Simock
 
Last March a posting on this blog told you about the request we made of the utility commissions in Washington and Idaho requesting rate changes to recover the costs of buying and generating power and upgrading the pipes, poles and wires that bring you energy when you want it. Today a settlement agreement was filed with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (IPUC) that would result in an overall electric rate increase of 9.3 percent and a 2.6 percent increase in natural gas rates for our Idaho customers. The settlement must still be approved by the IPUC. The request in Washington is still pending.
 
Partially offsetting the increase for the next three years will be a bill credit customers will receive to return the balance of Avista’s deferred Idaho state income taxes from prior years.
 
Today Avista also filed its annual Power Cost Adjustment, also known as PCA, which requests an overall 2.6 percent increase in electric rates. The PCA is the difference between Avista’s actual costs of generating and purchasing power over the past 12 months and the cost currently included in customer rates.
 
It’s a lot of detailed rates information with ups and down. But, the bottom line - if you are a residential customer in Idaho using an average 1,000 kilowatt-hours a month, you could expect to see a $5.37 month increase beginning on October 1, for a revised bill of $86.27. If you’re a natural gas customer, your bill would increase about $1.71 per month for a revised bill of $59.40, also beginning October 1.
 
Avista also agreed to increase annual low-income weatherization programs and to increase funds for low-income energy efficiency and education. Idaho Community Action Programs administer these programs.
 
We see everyday how the rising cost of energy impacts families in the communities we serve. It’s one of the reasons we offer many programs to help customers with energy assistance.  Nobody likes an increase in their costs of everyday living like gasoline, food and energy. But the fact remains, that we need to make these requests to continue to provide you with the safe, reliable energy you depend on.
 
You may have questions about this rate change in Idaho and we’d like to help answer them or provide more information. You can post a comment below in the block or send us an email to conversations@avistautilities.com.
 
More information
Click here to read the news release
Published: 7/26/2010  3:35 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Jun 30 , 2010
 
Spokane Shock
The Shock is electric for sure, but this Shock is Spokane’s number one ranked national Arena Football League team.
 
And on July 2, the team’s home game against the number two-ranked Arizona Rattlers will do more than generate a lot of touchdown frenzy. Avista’s Project Share emergency energy assistance fund will receive $3 from every ticket sold when fans use the code word “Share” when they purchase their discounted $12 tickets through TicketsWest, over the phone (800-325-SEAT (7328)), or in person at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena Box Office, 720 West Mallon.

It’s summer, why are we talking about energy assistance? Because the need for help in our community doesn’t go away just because the weather gets warmer.
 
Project Share is through donations from our customers, our community and our company. It provides one-time emergency energy assistance to families in our region regardless of the fuel they use for heating. This past heating season, Project Share provided more than $671,000 in energy assistance to 2,972 households in Spokane County. We work with our community Partner, SNAP, to make the grants. More information about Project Share is available on our website.

So, this holiday weekend think winning football team and a big score for Project Share, helping those in need in our community
Published: 6/30/2010  11:41 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Jun 11 , 2010
Post by Dan Kolbet

Over the past few days, customers have been receiving an e-mail from Avista President Dennis Vermillion titled: Bill Assistance from Avista. Not everyone has provided us their e-mail address, so I thought I’d provide the text again here.

Dear Avista customer,

Click to watch video

Click above to watch video.
The weather is warming and generally, energy bills are lower than they were last year, but for some of our customers these challenging economic times still make it difficult to pay for many basic needs.  Energy assistance funds are still available and Avista has several bill assistance options that could help with paying energy bills.

If someone you know is having difficulty paying their energy bill, please have them call 1-800-227-9187 to reach our customer service center, or visit us online at
www.avistautilities.com for more information. We’ll do our best to work out special payment arrangements or help find other forms of assistance. It is our goal to do everything we can to help our customers who may be experiencing difficult times. 

In an effort to keep you informed about these bill assistance options we have created a video message. Please take a moment to learn about the various billing and assistance options and energy assistance grants such as Project Share, a program supported by our customers, community and Avista that provides one-time emergency energy assistance grants to those in need.

Thank you,
Dennis Vermillion
President, Avista Utilities
Published: 6/11/2010  10:18 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Apr 01 , 2010
Spring is here, but for some, in this difficult economy, the mild winter didn’t ease the burden of their home energy bill. Each year Avista partners with regional community action agencies to provide qualified households financial assistance to pay their utility bills.
 
“Typically, energy assistance funds are depleted by this time. This year, however, there are still funds available to help those in need who have not yet received energy assistance,” said Anne Marie Axworthy, Avista’s director of community development. “We’re working closely with our community partners to increase awareness of the funds and to help people access them in a timely manner.”
 
 
Published: 4/1/2010  3:01 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Feb 03 , 2010
Post by Dan Kolbet
 
Last night was great chatting with KHQ viewers about energy assistance and Avista. If you didn't have a chance to join in you can view the chat log here.
 
Do you find value in live chats? Should we do them more? E-mail me to offer your thoughts. We did a previous live chat in November - read about it here.
 
Published: 2/3/2010  8:40 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Feb 01 , 2010
Joe shows a customer Avista's online energy audit.
Joe walks a customer through
Avista's online energy audit.
Post by Jessie Wuerst
Follow Jessie on Twitter, @AvistaCares

My feet have stopped hurting. I got a little rest, and I now have a little perspective on Avista’s 2010 Energy Fair held last Saturday. It was great! Some 325 people of all ages and interests came through the Lair Student Center at Spokane Community College from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. They talked with Avista staff and our community partners about topics that ranged from installing energy saving door sweeps to filing for earned income tax credits. We were very pleased to partner with Community Colleges of Spokane for this first annual event. Also attending and providing valuable information were staff members from SNAP, Work Source Spokane and the CASH Coalition.

Camille shows how to help insulate drafty windows
Camille shows how to help insulate
drafty windows.
One of the biggest hits of the day was the interactive singing and dancing program from Wattson, our energy watchdog and his friend Edison. It was so fun to see the kids – their parents and a few Avista staffers – singing and dancing right along with the big dog and his pal, learning energy efficiency tips at the same time.

It warmed my heart to see a family relaxing around a table in the Lair Café, talking about the Wattson activity sheet the kids colored. Or catching bits of conversation from the older couple who discussed which lamp in their home would get the free CFL bulb they received at the fair.

A little excitement was in the air at least once an hour, when door prize winners were announced. And a lot of excitement followed the announcement of the two grand prize winners. Avista House Warming certificates, cozy blankets, and other energy-saving goodies were the coveted prizes.

All in all, I thought the fair was a wonderful success. Attendees told us the information was very helpful and they appreciated the free samples they received after each demonstration. We learned some things that will make it even better next year and we’re looking forward to it.
 
Published: 2/1/2010  9:40 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Jan 30 , 2010
Come visit us at the Energy Fair
Come visit my co-workers and friends at Avista's 2010 Energy Fair. 

Post by Dan Kolbet

Informational display.
I've only been at Avista's 2010 Energy Fair for about an hour, but I've been impressed with the displays and information booths - and the number of Avista customers who have joined us today for energy efficiency demonstrations and to talk about their accounts. I hope to see you here.

The fair is going on from right now until 3 p.m. We have customer service reps available for face to face meetings. I'm actually set up in the Customer Service area right now typing this post. It's a busy place, but if you decide to come over, don't expect a wait, so it’s certainly worth it.

I must mention prizes. This is simple, when you get here, visit my friends at the information booths (there is one at each end). They will give you all the details you need to get entered into hourly prize drawings and two really cool grand prizes at the end of the day. (Word is the grand prizes include a $250 energy gift certificate - can't beat that.)

If you're just kicking around the house today, please come over to Spokane Community College (SCC) Lair Student Center (Building 6), 1810 North Greene Street. Anyhow, Wattson, Avista's Energy Watchdog is about to take the stage in the Kid's area and I don't want to miss it, so, I’m signing off.
 
 
Published: 1/30/2010  11:27 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

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