Nov 27 , 2013
It’s part of our DNA...sharing our time, talent and treasure with those most in need in the communities Avista serves. This year is no exception.
The bright smiling face of KREM2’s Tom Sherry can only be matched by the warmth and thankfulness of those who receive Thanksgiving dinners during the annual Tom’s Turkey Drive each year.
Avista employees and the Avista Credit Union donated $8,900 which was matched by the Avista Foundation for a total donation of $17,800. These funds help provide approximately 11,000 meals – the goal for this year. That amount would feed 40,000 – 50,000 people (based on 4-6 servings per meal). Avista’s total donation will pay for 890 meals, thus feeding 3,600 to 5,300 individuals.
Avista’s history with Tom’s Turkey Drive dates back to the very beginning. Avista was one of the first companies to join with Sherry in this annual event. Once we were on board, other companies wanted to join, too. It’s a program that aligns with Avista’s strategy of supporting community vitality.
On another giving front, Avista employees helped sort and distribute thousands of items to help Spokane community members stay warm through Project Warm-Up. The program provides thousands of knitted, crocheted and sewn items for those in need through 51 non-profit agencies. Since the program began in 1991, more than 100,000 items have been distributed.
Earlier this month our employees helped sort, count and prepare thousands of items for distribution. They enjoyed seeing all of the items created by more than 200 talented volunteers. The youngest volunteer is an 8-year-old great-granddaughter of a senior volunteer, while the oldest is 98, according to the Project Warm Program Coordinator, Teri Wallace.
The majority of crafters 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 participate just for the fun of it.
Project Warm-Up is one of the many community programs that Avista staff enthusiastically gives their time and energy to support. Over a three-day period, Avista staff loaded, sorted, counted, and delivered 7,800 items that had been stored in our Post Street facility all year.
During this holiday season, we are warmed by the giving spirit our employees demonstrate in so many ways.
Nov 14 , 2013
When you think about historic structures in our region that have undergone important restoration, buildings like The Davenport Hotel, Fox Theater or the Steam Plant might come to mind.
Next year, one of Avista’s historic facilities will be given a much-needed facelift as well.
Built in 1906, the South Channel Dam at the Post Falls Hydroelectric Development (HED) is more than 100 years old. While it’s stood the test of time, we plan to continue the safe and reliable operation of the facility with an extensive restoration and upgrade beginning in spring 2014. Work is scheduled to be completed by December 2014.
The structure’s original facing concrete and gate frames, as well as the gates and manual rack and pinion hoists will be removed and replaced with new facing concrete, automated spillway gates and hoists. The improvements will preserve the life of the 106-year-old structure and automation will improve operation efficiencies.
During construction the project will affect some areas of Q’emiln Park. To maintain public safety, access to areas including the boat launch, trailhead and pavilion will be impacted. The west entrance road and adjacent portion of the park will be an active construction site with material, equipment and vehicles in the area. More information on the impact will be known after a contractor is selected in January 2014.
It’s easy to stay up-to-date on project information and impacts. Just send us an email at SpokaneRiverNews@avistacorp.com
and you will be added to the distribution list for our e-newsletter. Be sure to type "Post Falls Updates" in the subject line and include your name and email address in the body text. You can also get timely project information
, including the project fact sheet on our Website.
The Post Falls HED has been a key to helping Avista produce clean, renewable, low-cost power and it creates recreational opportunities like boating and swimming near Q’emiln Park.
Made up of three dams in the area, the Post Falls HED produces 15 megawatts of clean energy – that’s enough to power 11,250 homes – and helps control water levels of Lake Coeur d’Alene during the summer recreation season.
Nov 08 , 2013
Avista recently announced it has signed an agreement to acquire Alaska Energy and Resources Company (AERC), which includes its primary subsidiary Alaska Electric Light and Power Company (AEL&P), which is the sole electric services provider for Juneau, the state capital of Alaska.
When the transaction is complete AERC will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Avista Corp. The transaction, pending regulatory approvals is not expected to be completed until mid-year 2014. The $170 million purchase price will be funded through the issuance of Avista common stock to the shareholders of AERC. Read the news release.
“AEL&P’s 120-year culture of service and community partnership is a great long-term fit with Avista Corp. We have found AEL&P to have similar cultural values and focus on providing safe, reliable service from clean, renewable energy sources that Avista has held dear for nearly 125 years. We look forward to working with their highly skilled and dedicated management and employees, and to being part of the Juneau community,” said Avista Corp. Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Scott Morris. “This agreement reflects Avista’s strategy to expand and diversify energy assets and deliver long-term value to the customers, communities and investors we serve.”
Since there is no plan to merge Avista Utilities and AEL&P’s utility operations, customers in Washington, Oregon and Idaho won’t see any big changes.
This isn’t the first time Avista has acquired a utility or utility properties. In the early ‘90s Avista (WWP) acquired CP National’s Oregon and California properties. This provided the basis for our Oregon operations today. And in 1994, Avista acquired PacifiCorp’s Northern Idaho electric properties, which included Sandpoint, Idaho.
Oct 02 , 2013
We want customers to be aware of a telephone scam making its way across the country.
The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) today warned utility consumers of a growing telephone scam.
The scam involves telephone callers claiming to be from a utility company and then employing a variety of techniques to defraud customers.
Some threaten customers with disconnecting electric service to their home or business if they don’t make a payment immediately. The scam artist instructs them to send money via prepaid card or online payment service, such as PayPal or GreenDot, before their power is shut off. The scammer’s caller-ID is falsified so it appears to originate from the utility company, a practice known as “spoofing.”
If you receive a call like this, please hang up immediately and call us at 1-800-227-9187 to let us know. You are also advised to call your local law enforcement agency to report it.
Consumers are also urged to report suspicious calls to both the UTC at 1-888-333-WUTC (9882).
Aug 21 , 2013
The beginning of school is full of anticipation for most children. But for some, it can be less than exciting when the family income won’t stretch far enough to include new school supplies. For the second year, Avista employees stepped up to partner with the Salvation Army in Spokane to make sure kids in need had the pencils and paper and back packs they need when school starts in a few short weeks.
Over 90 employees dressed in bright blue “Human Power” t-shirts were in-take workers and give-away helpers to more than 4,100 children headed to classes in kindergarten through 12th grade. The children are part of more than 1,700 families from the Spokane area – families that have one less worry, now, with the new school year ahead.
Avista employees’ generosity goes well beyond volunteering their time for this all-day event. Together with the Avista Credit Union, they contributed $5,000 to the Salvation Army, which was matched dollar-for-dollar by the Avista Foundation, for a total donation of $10,000 to the 2013 “Back Pack for Kids”.
Aug 15 , 2013
Today, Avista filed a request with the Public Utility Commission of Oregon (PUC) to increase natural gas rates by an overall 9.8 percent. The last time we requested a general rate increase in Oregon was in 2010. You can read more about the request in our news release
that was issued today.
If the request is approved and you are a residential customer using an average of 48 therms a month, you would see a $6.17 a month increase for a revised monthly bill of $64.17. The PUC has up to 10 months to review the request which seeks to recover capital investments Avista made in updating certain natural gas pipe and to update the technology that is the backbone of our customer information system. These investments will allow for the continued safe and reliable delivery of natural gas to our customers.
Assistance is Available
The economy is still challenging, so let us know if you need a helping hand. Energy assistance programs, including CARES representatives, and payment options to help qualifying customers are available. Our CARES reps are specially-trained employees who provide referrals to area agencies and churches for customers with special needs for help with housing, utilities, medical assistance, and other needs. Visit us at www.avistautilities.com
for more information. There you’ll also find information on energy efficiency programs, including rebates, incentives and tips that can help you manage energy use.
Aug 05 , 2013
Avista is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Kettle Falls Generating Station this month with an open house. To celebrate, the public is invited to an open house on Saturday, August 10, 2013 from 9:00am - 11:00am at the Kettle Falls Generating Station 1151 U.S. Hwy 395 North, Kettle Falls, Wash.
Built in 1983, the Kettle Falls plant was the first utility-owned electric generating station of its kind in the U.S. constructed for the sole purpose of producing electricity from wood waste, or biomass. The award-winning plant, combined with Avista’s legacy hydroelectric power projects, has contributed to Avista being listed among the greenest utilities in the country. The facility produces up to 61 megawatts of electricity – enough to power 46,000 homes.
While wood waste is just one of many resources that Avista employs throughout their system, the Kettle Falls facility is special. It is a model of efficiency and innovation, and Avista’s secret is out.
The Association of Washington Business, Power Magazine, the U.S. Forest Service, and the state of Washington are among the many institutions that have recognized Kettle Falls for its contributions to industry and the environment. With the dedication to environmental stewardship demonstrated by partnerships in the timber industry, Avista produces energy with a resource that is clean and abundant – renewable in the best sense of the word.
With the support of legislators, the community and Avista employees, the Kettle Falls Generating Station is well-positioned to be a part of the region’s clean energy future.
Avista is pleased to be celebrating 30 years of the Kettle Falls Generating Station, which supports over 100 jobs, a strong tax base, a healthy economy, and a vibrant community. Avista is grateful for the relationships that have been built over 30 years. Avista is proud of our history and excited about our future.
Jul 17 , 2013
Post by Dan Kolbet
Just last week Avista, First Wind and Vestas, along with more than 100 invited guests officially dedicated the first wind farm built in Avista’s service territory – Palouse Wind. The day also marked the celebration of the facility’s 150,000 megawatt hour of energy produced since the farm opened in December 2012.
On hand to kick off the event was Washington Governor Jay Inslee admired the lush landscape and said, “there’s probably not another place in the world today that’s producing more green electricity, surrounded by greener pea and wheat fields, generating more green economic activity for small rural communities, than right here at Palouse Wind.”
Since the Palouse Wind project went online, it has brought significant long-term tax revenue to Whitman County while generating enough clean energy to power the homes of about 30,000 Avista customers.
As the largest renewable energy facility in Whitman County, the 105 MW project features 58 state-of-the-art Vestas V100-1.8 MW turbines installed between the town of Oakesdale and State Route 195 on the hills surrounding Naff Ridge. During construction the Palouse Wind project pumped more than $25 million of direct spending into the regional economy and created hundreds of construction-related jobs and drove significant revenue for local businesses.
Avista is purchasing the energy produced by the Palouse Wind project under a 30-year power purchase agreement and is taking delivery of the power through a direct interconnection to Avista’s 230 kilovolt (kV) transmission line. This is the first wind project built in Avista’s service territory and it is helping Avista achieve its goal of providing reliable energy to its customers at a reasonable cost, while helping meet Washington state renewable portfolio standards, now and into the future.
Jul 08 , 2013
launched an eight-month project today to renovate land it owns south and west of our Post Street substation in downtown Spokane. The area, known as Huntington Park, is named for the third president of the company, David L. Huntington, who served from 1910 to 1927. The renovation project is scheduled for completion in early 2014. A copy of the revised concept plan
(PDF) is available online.
The renovation and enhancements to the walkways, grassy areas and structures will provide residents and visitors with greater access to the Spokane River and views of the falls. The project will provide visitors with interpretive displays, more park-like amenities and enhanced safety in the area.
Much of the project area falls within the scope of the federal license Avista Utilities
has to operate the Spokane River Hydroelectric Projects. Under that license and the Federal Power Act, the utility has an obligation to enhance public access near the river and recreation facilities appropriate to the setting.
“Our goal is to make the park more inviting and easier to access, as well as to tie it in with Riverfront Park, as the city moves forward with its master planning process,” said Avista Corp. Chairman, President and CEO Scott Morris. “We’re very excited to have Huntington Park once again be the gateway to the lower falls of the river, much like it was when it was dedicated some 40 years ago as the city was preparing for Expo 74.”
The renovation of the 3.8-acre parcel, along with the addition of a public plaza that will replace a parking lot on the north side of City Hall, will foster greater connectivity between Riverfront Park and Huntington Park. Improvements include a new pedestrian crosswalk across Post Street between Riverfront Park and City Hall, new stairs, ramps, sidewalks, lighting, grassy areas and seating. An old power turbine and other artifacts will be added for interpretive displays, and a viewing area of the falls on the northwest corner of the historic Post Street substation building will be updated.
The project is scheduled to begin today and run through March 2014, to finish in advance of Avista’s 125th Anniversary and the 40th Anniversary of the World’s Fair in Riverfront Park.
Jul 01 , 2013
Avista coordinates mock electrical accident and rescue involving copper theft
When the power goes out on a stormy day, it’s easy to attribute that outage to weather. Sometimes an overly-curious squirrel is the culprit of a power outage (they really like transformers). But one of the most troubling outages an Avista crew sees is when criminals steal copper from the electrical system that serves you.
Recently Avista and local Spokane first responders participated in a surprise, mock electrical emergency that involved the theft of copper wire from overhead power lines. Avista facilitated the exercise that resulted in mock injuries to one thief and resulted in a fatality for another.
The video above explains the exercise, why we do it and what benefits it generates for Avista and our first responder-partners.
This mock accident was coordinated by Avista Journeyman Lineman Mike Toutloff. Dozens of other employees assisted in this successful event. Of note were members of the electric line crew: Chris Christopherson, Brian Morse, Paul Gifford, Jarrad Hansen and Ben Gies. The colorful character “getting arrested” in the video is Journeyman Lineman Brady Hansen.
Thanks also to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Dept., Fire District 9, Fire District 18 and EMS personnel.
Avista crews arrived at a scene in North Spokane to find a rescue dummy (thief 1) draped over an overhead power line near a power pole. His accomplice, (thief 2) was attached to the base of the pole. Both men had received electrical shocks as they attempted to steal copper wire.
The crew moved swiftly to ensure the power lines were de-energized, meaning no electricity was running through them. They then removed the copper thieves from the pole and began life-saving efforts with the aid of local first responders who had already secured the surrounding scene.
Avista and first responders work in coordination on this sort of mock scenario to ensure that when they do occur in real life, all agencies respond appropriately.
All agencies involved are reviewing their performance to find any areas of improvement for the future.
Copper theft is a serious and dangerous crime. Since mid-2011 approximately 123 copper theft incidents have occurred in the Spokane area costing Avista and its customers $400,000 in replacement costs. The danger is not only to thieves, but also anyone who comes into contact with a live electrical line. For your safety, if you see a down wire, stay away and call Avista at 1-800-227-9187.