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

Jan 27 , 2010
Post by Jessie Wuerst
Follow Jessie on Twitter: @AvistaCares

more details
It’s winter in the Inland Northwest and that usually means cold, snow and high utility bills. This year there’s little snow, but it is cold, and utility bills are inching upward. What better time to reach out for information about bill assistance and energy efficiency? All this and more will be available at Avista’s 2010 Energy Fair, scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 30, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at Spokane Community College (SCC) Lair Student Center (Building 6), 1810 North Greene Street. (See map here.)

Free admission to the event includes access to all demonstrations, free samples, complimentary food and beverages, and door prizes.

Avista is partnering with Community Colleges of Spokane for this first annual event. All kinds of information and demonstrations will be available throughout the day, including information about payment options, energy assistance and energy efficiency.

Fair attendees can speak with Avista staff and learn first-hand about low-cost and no-cost easy 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. We’ll also have information about online tools that can give you more information about your energy use and what you pay for it. These can be really helpful.

Avista customer service representatives will also be available to answer billing questions, provide information about payment options and refer customers to energy assistance programs, as needed. SNAP representatives will be on hand to answer questions about energy assistance, weatherization and other topics. And Community Colleges of Spokane will have information tables, as well.

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.
Published: 1/27/2010  9:04 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Jan 14 , 2010
Click here for information about bill assistance.
Post by Dan Kolbet

Over the last few weeks, as I received e-mails from customers and observed my co-workers planning for our bill assistance informational campaign, a few things become clearer for me.

First, more people than ever need a little extra help with their bills. Now, this might seem a bit obvious given recent economic conditions, but it seems the trend is help for people who have never needed to ask before. Life sometimes throws you a curveball – it just happens. Second, asking about what options are available for you so you can pay your bills and live comfortably is tough for some people to do and that’s understandable.

Given these trends, it’s nice to know that we’re offering help right now - hopefully before you really need it. Don’t get me wrong, we certainly need you to pay for the energy you use, but we also know we’re not the only bill you get each month and we want to help when we can.

So, what’s available?

Payment arrangements:
You may qualify for special payment arrangements that fit your needs.

Comfort Level Billing:
Winter bills are typically high, summer bills are lower. Comfort Level Billing lets you make the same payment every month to smooth out the volatility. I have this service and love the consistency, plus there’s no interest charge on your balance.

Preferred Due Date:
Maybe you get paid every other Friday, but your spouse gets paid only once a month, when is the best time for you to pay your bill? Tell us and we’ll move your payment date. Of course this will depend on your account status and situation, but call to talk with us.

Energy Assistance Grants, Such as Project Share:
Limited or low-income customers may qualify for assistance through local community agencies.

Senior Assistance:
Many options are available for those age 60 and over.

It’s all about what fits for you. Please call our customer service folks or login to your My Account and look at your options before you get into a pinch.
 
Published: 1/14/2010  12:08 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Jan 08 , 2010
Post by Dan Kolbet
 
This weekend you might see a flier in your local newspaper from Avista. The Resource Guide to Assistance Programs will be placed inside nearly all major newspapers in our service territory starting this weekend, with weekly newspapers to follow. This insert marks the launch of a special push to share information about bill assistance with customers.

The two-sided, color insert’s goal is to help you learn about your options regarding bill assistance and direct you to back to our website to take action or learn more information about your bill. This weekend we’ll be launching some new website pages that will provide some great information. Just visit the homepage at www.avistautilities.com this weekend to find the link.

“Many of our customers are not aware of the resources available to them,” said Dana Anderson, marketing manager.  “In a lot of cases, customers have not needed to ask for help before and they don’t know where to start.”

We have options available to fit many unique scenarios. From signing up for payment arrangements to requesting a change in a bill due date, the options are wide-ranging. Also highlighted are energy assistance grants, such as Project Share and Senior Assistance for those 60 and over.

I’ll be writing a few blog posts over the next few weeks about bill assistance and the options available for customers. In the meantime, visit the homepage this weekend or drop me an e-mail with questions.
Published: 1/8/2010  9:31 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Jan 05 , 2010
Avista Housewarming Gift Certificate
Post by Sarah Hilbert
 
The holidays may be over however, the heating bills are not. More and more people are finding value in giving the gift of energy during these challenging times. Last month, Avista sold $18,908 in gift certificates compared to December 2008’s figure of $10,850.
 
Because need doesn’t know a season, the gift certificates are available year-round.
 
Avista’s Housewarming Gift Certificates can be ordered here. Available in any denomination and with no expiration date, a Housewarming Gift Certificate can be given to a customer who applies it toward their Avista energy bill as a credit. You don’t have to be a customer to order an Avista Housewarming Gift Certificate for someone, or even a business.
 
More information on the Avista Housewarming Gift Certificate and an order form are available here.
Published: 1/5/2010  4:12 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Dec 22 , 2009
Post by Jessie Wuerst
Follow Jessie on twitter @AvistaCares
 
Have you finished your holiday shopping yet? Is your home filled with lights and the fragrant smells of fresh baked goodies? So much of what we do to celebrate our winter holidays is centered on home, friends and family. You build traditions that are passed from generation to generation, and sometimes it takes extra effort to make sure the traditions are carried out each year.

Tom's Turkey Drive
KREM's Tom Sherry receives a
check from Avista and Avista's
employees for Tom's Turkey Drive.
During this season of giving, Avista is doing its share of year-end donations. They cap a year in which some $1.2 million was given to non-profit organizations in the cities and towns in the three states we serve. This tradition of annual giving is deeply rooted in our company.

Here are just a few examples. Just this month, some $21,000 in grants went out to 46 food banks in some of the smallest communities that we serve, including Warden, Connell, Addy and Valley, Wash., Priest River and Athol, Idaho, and La Grande, Ore. Each donation will be leveraged by food bank staff to bring many times its value and will provide nutritional food for those who are hungry.

Spokane’s Second Harvest Food Bank is on our donation list this year, too. In addition to our year-end donation, hands-on action is one of our favorite things to do. So, at this year’s United Way campaign kick-off nearly 50 Avista employees, including Avista CEO Scott Morris, sorted, bagged and distributed food for several hundred recipients at a distribution site in mid-town Spokane. These same efforts go on in Coeur d’Alene, in Lewiston, in Medford and many, many other locations - whether it is to fill a needy family’s freezer with meat or to gather clothing for women working toward self-sufficiency or filling backpacks with school supplies so kids can go to school with the tools they need to learn. It’s what we do, because it’s the way we are – the employees of Avista.

United Way Day of Action
Click the image above to watch the
United Way Day of Action this fall.
We are in partnership with our company. As employees, we gave $6,250 to Tom’s Turkey Drive, and when it was matched dollar-for-dollar by our company, the $12,500 benefitted more than 830 families at Thanksgiving. We gave nearly $15,000 to Project Share during our employee campaign in December, shattering our $10,000 goal. Project Share provides emergency energy assistance to the growing number of families in need in our region. We lead the way in employee giving to the United Ways in the communities we serve. And we give of our time to the non-profit groups that mean the most to us – some 45,000 hours of volunteering in 2009.

Okay, I’m boasting, but I’m proud. I’m proud to work at a company that has a deeply rooted belief in giving back to the communities we serve. I’m proud of the company that encourages and supports employee volunteerism in the communities where we live. I’m proud of the extra effort our company takes to make sure that the Christmas Bureau gets $10,000 and Fresh Start, a warming center in Coeur d’Alene, gets $5,000 to help the homeless and mentally ill when the frigid temps start to descend upon us. I’m proud of the support we give each year to education and economic development and those most vulnerable among us.

In my time at Avista, I have come to know what it is to walk our talk. It is our tradition, and we work hard to make sure that it is observed year after year. No matter what holiday you celebrate this time of year, I hope you will join us in celebrating a season of giving to others. Happy Holidays.
 
Published: 12/22/2009  3:14 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Dec 21 , 2009
Project Share ornament
Post by Dan Kolbet
 
I just found out that Avista employees donated nearly $15,000 to Project Share this month. We stepped up our internal campaign efforts with a holiday theme and employees really came through. In just 18 days, more than 153 employees gave $14,749, shattering the $10,000 goal for this year’s employee campaign for Avista’s Project Share Fund.
 
Avista’s Project Share Fund provides one-time emergency energy assistance for our neighbors in need, regardless of the heating source they use. This heating season nearly $230,000 has been donated to Project Share from Avista and its employees. Together with donations from our customers, Avista’s Project Share Fund will be there to help keep lights on and homes heated again this year.
 
Learn more or donate to Project Share.
 
Published: 12/21/2009  3:07 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

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