Aug 05 , 2013
30 Year Anniversary
 
Posted by Jessie Wuerst
 
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.
 
Published: 8/5/2013  9:42 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Jul 17 , 2013
video here
 
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.

Watch the video to see the sights and sounds of the event.

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.

Published: 7/17/2013  10:09 AM | 1  Comment | 0  Links to this post

Jul 08 , 2013
 
Posted by Jessie Wuerst
 
Avista 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.
Published: 7/8/2013  1:38 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Jul 01 , 2013
video
 
Avista coordinates mock electrical accident and rescue involving copper theft
 
Post by Dan Kolbet
 
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.

The Scenario
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.
Published: 7/1/2013  4:44 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Jul 01 , 2013
Picture collage of Hoopfest 2013
 
Posted by Scott Steele
 
Avista plays a major part in the communities we serve. And when a community event such as Hoopfest is right in our backyard, we want to be a part of it.
 
Hoopfest in Spokane is the largest outdoor 3 on 3 basketball tournament in the world with more than 200,000 fans, 28,000 players on 7,000 teams, and 3,000 volunteers squeezed into 40 downtown city blocks. With all these teams and players, keeping track of where and what time their games are can be a daunting task. That’s where Avista comes in.
 
As a sponsor of the Avista Master Scoreboard, Avista provides a 40-person volunteer crew who puts in 550 hours each year to build and run a makeshift outdoor IT department.
 
Employees work tirelessly to ensure the Ethernet network is running properly so scores and brackets are updated in real-time. In all, Avista supplies and lays more than 1,000 feet of Ethernet, 300 feet of fiber optic cable and 250 feet of telephone line to connect 20 computers in 15 locations across downtown Spokane.
 
Avista also keeps players and spectators connected during the tournament with free phone charging stations. These stations can charge up to 12 phones at one time and the Hoopfest attendees put them to the test this year. “Cool”, “Great idea”, and “I really needed to use this, my phone was almost dead,”, are just a few of the accolades overheard by users of the charging stations.
 
The Hoopfest Social Media ambassadors used the stations throughout the weekend to keep their phones charged as they Tweeted and used Facebook to send out updates. They were captured here in a video. KXLY News 4 (ABC) in Spokane also highlighted Avista’s volunteer efforts in a news story leading up to the event.
 
So, when we say we’re active participants in the communities we serve, we’re really saying that we were wired into everything that was going on this weekend in Spokane’s premier sporting event...and it was fun!
Published: 7/1/2013  12:35 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

May 30 , 2013
 
 
Over the past few years, we’ve heard from our customers that they want more information about how we do business in areas like utility operations, environmental stewardship and our community partnerships. Avista’s fifth annual report on our performance – our sustainability responsibility report -- is titled “Shared Value – Shared Success.”
 
Our purpose statement says, “To improve life’s quality with energy – safely, reliably and responsibly.”  Each year, our report provides a comprehensive look at what goes into providing that energy and how often this has additional benefits to the customers and communities we serve. That’s shared value.
 
In this year’s report, we tell many stories of how shared value is created throughout our business. We’ve added some great graphics to help illustrate some of the information, as well as links to videos and other online resources to give readers many different ways to get the most complete story possible.
 
As part of our sustainable business practices, the report is published only online. But a PDF file can be downloaded for your convenience in reading the report or sharing it with others.
 
Shared value is at the heart of what Avista does every day. We hope you’ll take the time to read this year’s report and give us your feedback by email at SharedValue@avistacorp.com. We want to hear from you about how we can continue to build shared value and shared successes.

 
Published: 5/30/2013  9:46 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

May 29 , 2013
Mock incident response photos
 
 
Today, 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.

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.
 
Published: 5/29/2013  12:06 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

May 15 , 2013
Photo of Scholarship Ceremony
 
 
 
We’ve heard it many times in the past: Paul Redmond was Mr. Washington Water Power. Redmond, retired chairman, president and CEO of WWP, now named Avista, was recently recognized for his lifetime of leadership both in our company and in the Inland Northwest. Avista Corp. established the Paul A. Redmond Endowed Engineering Scholarship at Gonzaga University School of Engineering and Applied Science in honor Redmond, a 1959 Gonzaga alumnus.
 
The fund seeks to honor the legacy of Redmond’s leadership at Avista and to promote excellence in the field of engineering “such that scholars become innovators, problem-solvers and diverse, talented employees of our future.”
 
Scholarships will be awarded to engineering students who are entering juniors and possess a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.0, with preference given to women and minority students, and to students with U.S. military experience – including active-duty military personnel, veterans and ROTC students.
 
“We’re pleased to honor Paul’s legacy of leadership at WWP/Avista and to recognize the significant impacts he made in our community and our region,” said Scott Morris, Avista Corp. chairman, president and CEO. “Creating an endowed scholarship at Paul’s alma mater, Gonzaga University, seems a fitting way to help prepare the engineers of the future and bring his legacy to life for others for years to come.”
 
Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh singled out Redmond’s leadership style that placed great value on an uncanny ability to bring people together.
 
“Whether developing a company, a city, a region or a whole industry, Paul Redmond consistently and creatively demonstrated the power that comes with bringing people together to work toward a greater goal,” President McCulloh said. “This is why I am so pleased we have a scholarship that bears Paul Redmond’s name so that all future recipients will come to know his name, his story and the power of collaboration.”
 
Stephen Silliman, dean of Gonzaga’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, credited Redmond for building upon Gonzaga’s historic partnership with Avista, a collaboration responsible for development of Gonzaga’s Transmission and Distribution Program, establishment of the Avista Scholars program and creation of the Redmond Engineering Scholarship.
 
“The relationship that Avista has developed with Gonzaga University is an exciting model of how industry can partner with schools to create exceptional opportunities for students, faculty, industry, and the regions we serve,” Silliman said. “It’s fitting that this scholarship seeks to develop in our students those leadership skills important in the engineering profession and exemplified by Paul Redmond. It is also fitting that this scholarship provides a unique opportunity to build a more diverse engineering profession through focusing support on women, those with military experience, and others traditionally underrepresented in our engineering programs.
 
Pictured above: (From left) Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh; Paul Redmond; Avista Corp. Chairman, President and CEO Scott Morris; and Stephen Silliman, dean of the Gonzaga School of Engineering and Applied Science. Photo by Rajah Bose, Gonzaga University.
Published: 5/15/2013  10:56 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

May 09 , 2013
Spokane River Picture
 
Posted by Debbie Simock.
 
If this spring’s unseasonably warm weather is drawing you to the lake or river this weekend, Avista reminds you to exercise caution as snowmelt is causing high, swift and cold river flows.
 
While the water may look calm on top, the current is usually very strong. Combined with cold water temperatures, swimmers can find themselves in a dangerous situation quickly. As a public service, Avista reports on area lake and river levels and makes the reports available to the community by calling (509) 495-8043 or (208) 769-1357.
 
To protect yourself and your companions when recreating on or along a river or lake, always follow these important safety tips:
- Always wear personal flotation devices (PFDs), even if you are an adult. It’s always a good idea to attach an emergency alert whistle to your PFD.
- Remember that water is extremely cold in spring. Know the symptoms of hypothermia.
- Keep your head above water. Muscles in your limbs can stop working after only 10 minutes. Hypothermia can begin in one hour or less depending on the water temperatures.
- Be alert to strong currents and undertows.
- Always be alert for debris, obstructions and partially submerged objects that may be a result of spring run-off and high water conditions.
- Always obey warning signs near dams. 
- Never cross boater restraint cables or buoy lines that designate areas where boats should not operate. The closer a boat or individual gets to a dam or powerhouse, the more hazardous the situation becomes. 
- Never fish, swim or boat above or below a dam – water levels can change rapidly with the operation of spillgates and turbines.
- If in a sailboat or catamaran, always look for overhead cables and power lines.
- Never operate watercraft under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Never anchor your boat below a dam
- Make a voyage plan including the area you will be recreating, who is in your party and return time. Share the plan with someone who will not be in your party.
 
When on the water, obey all warning signs, follow all rules and regulations, and use common sense. Remember rivers and streams are at their peak flows during spring and early summer. Here are more safety tips.
 
 
Published: 5/9/2013  1:30 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Apr 29 , 2013
 
Posted by Debbie Simock
 
Be on alert to a national phone scam targeting utility customers that is currently happening in our area. Individuals misrepresenting themselves as Avista employees are calling customers threatening to turn off electric and gas service if payment is not made to them that day.
 
How it works:
- A caller identifying him or herself as an Avista employee tells customers that their account is past due or there is problem with their account.
- Your caller ID may show that the call is coming from Avista even if it is not. This is called caller ID spoofing.
- Customers are told they must purchase a Green Dot MoneyPak or go to a retail location and make a same day payment to avoid a disconnection of service that day.
- Customers are told to use cash to put money onto the card, and then provide the number on the card to the person who called them. At that point, your funds are going to the scammer, not where you thought.
 
What to do if you get a call:
 
When Avista makes an outbound phone call to customers, the caller ID will identify the call as coming from Avista. If you receive a call from someone claiming to be an Avista representative demanding immediate payment, using high pressure tactics or asking for your confidential information, end the call without providing any information and phone us at (800) 227-9187. That’s our customer service number, which is also located on your Avista bill.
 
As a precaution, you should shred your Avista bill to protect your private account information which includes your payment due date, amount of payment due and account number.
 
Door-to-Door Sales:
 
Also be alert to door-to-door sales personnel who claim to represent Avista and our programs. Any Avista employee or authorized contractor will have in their possession their Avista photo identification badge. Ask to see it if you are in doubt. If they don’t have identification, you can ask them to leave. Authorized contractors also have vehicle signs stating they are under contract to Avista and will have Avista program material.
 
Always think safety first. Do not give in to high pressure tactics to let someone into your home or to provide confidential information over the phone. Customers should report it to local law enforcement if they believe they have been the target of a scam.
 
Published: 4/29/2013  12:39 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

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