Dec 26 , 2012
Settlement provides more certainty for you to manage your energy costs over the next two years
Post by Anna Scarlett
Today we learned that the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC) has approved our settlement agreement with several parties in the electric and natural gas general rate requests we filed back in April
. If you’re an Avista natural gas or electric customer in Washington, the approval means you’ll see two adjustments to your electric and natural gas rates. The first will take effect Jan. 1, 2013 and the second on Jan. 1 of 2014.
As a reminder, we’ve agreed not to request additional general rate increases that would take effect before Jan. 1 of 2015. This doesn’t mean we wouldn’t adjust rates based on wholesale natural gas costs before then (remember, that’s a separate part of your bill). For more information about how we adjust those costs, read our Natural Gas Pricing 101 series
But what it does mean is that you’ll have more certainty in your energy rates for the next two years, so you can better plan to manage your energy costs. And your energy prices will still be among the lowest in the nation
.The bottom line
As a result of the approval if you are an Avista electric customer, you’ll see two separate rate increases:
• Beginning Jan. 1, 2013, if you use an average of 989 kilowatt hours a month, you’ll see an increase of $1.20 per month, which equates to about 4 cents a day, for a revised bill of $78.69.
• Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, if you use an average of 989 kilowatt hours a month, you’ll see an additional increase of $1.60 per month, or about 5 cents a day, for a revised bill of $80.29.
Here’s how the changes, will affect you as a natural gas customer:
• Beginning Jan. 1, 2013, the first 70 therms of your bill will actually cost a little less. This means an average monthly bill for 68 therms will decrease by about 38 cents to $60.37. For every therm you use over 70, you‘ll see an increase of about 10 cents per month. So, if your usage is less than 70 therms a month, through energy efficiency efforts, for example, you will really see the benefit of this change.
• Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, if you use an average of 68 therms a month, you would see an increase of 57 cents a month, or about 2 cents a day, for a revised monthly bill of $60.94.
Dec 26 , 2012
Households that are having trouble paying their heating bills this winter will receive help as the result of $226,000 in donations Avista and our employees made to Project Share (see news release).
An additional $100,000 is going to 19 human care service organizations in eastern Washington chosen by our CAREs representatives (Customer Assistance Referral and Evaluation Service).
“We know that the economy of our service territory continues to be depressed and that it is difficult for families to make ends meet. The organizations receiving these Project Share and CARES donations are an important safety net, and they provide important assistance that helps those most in need meet the costs of housing, food and medicine, and keeping their homes warm this winter,” said Scott Morris, chairman, president and CEO of Avista Corp.
Project Share will receive $226,000 from Avista and its employees. The program, which is administered by SNAP in eastern Washington and by community action programs in other areas of our service territory, provides emergency grants to help families meet energy costs regardless of the fuel used to heat their home. In 2011, more than 2,100 households received emergency energy assistance through Project Share. The funds for this donation come from company profits and employee donations and are not included as a cost to customers in developing rates.
“This donation is another amazing example of Avista taking the initiative to support our neighbors during difficult times,” said SNAP CEO Julie Honekamp. “We greatly value this collaborative effort that continues to be a vital benefit to our community. More homes will stay warm throughout the winter because of this.”
Additionally, Avista is partnering with 19 community service agencies in eastern Washington to make grants for energy assistance to qualifying Avista customers in need this winter.
Avista has contributed a total of $100,000 to the agencies for customers who have exhausted all other available energy assistance resources. The organizations were identified by Avista’s CARES representatives, who are specially trained and who work closest with our most vulnerable customers.
The funds for the CARES donations come from a state utility tax credit Avista receives that is associated with our low-income energy assistance programs.
Dec 19 , 2012
Avista can now count the renewable energy generated at Palouse Wind among the resources we use to meet our customers’ energy needs. Now in full commercial operations, the Palouse Wind project in Rosalia, Wash., is officially the largest renewable energy facility in Whitman County and is expected to contribute to the local economy for years to come.
On Tuesday, Dec. 18, Avista and First Wind announced successful completion of construction of the project. Read our news release.
The 105 megawatt (MW) project will be included in Avista’s diverse resource portfolio and will have the capacity to generate enough renewable wind energy to power the equivalent of approximately 30,000 of Avista’s customers’ homes. This is the first wind project built in our service territory.
The project features 58 state-of-the-art Vestas V100-1.8 MW turbines installed at the project site situated between the town of Oakesdale and State Route 195 on the hills surrounding Naff Ridge. During construction, the Palouse Wind project infused more than $25 million of direct spending into the regional economy and created hundreds of jobs.
Avista is purchasing the energy produced by the Palouse Wind project under a 30-year power purchase agreement and will take delivery of the power through a direct interconnect to our 230 kilovolt (kV) Benewah-to-Shawnee transmission line.
Palouse Wind helps us achieve our goal of meeting customers’ energy needs reliably and responsibly, while continuing our legacy of renewable energy. It’s good for our customers and communities to have the project right in our backyard and helps us keep our customers’ rates at some of the lowest in the country.
In addition, now that Palouse Wind is fully operational, Whitman County will receive approximately $12 million over the next 20 years in property tax revenues, which can be used to lower tax rates, improve schools, maintain roads and enhance local services.
Dec 17 , 2012
$28,150 donated to food banks in Washington, Idaho, Montana and Oregon
Avista employees help distribute food at a mobile food bank
last fall. .
For some residents of the Pacific Northwest, feeding their families can be one of the biggest challenges they face each month. Forty-seven food banks in Avista’s service territory
will have a bit more money to stock their shelves in the months ahead as the result of grants issued by Avista Corp. and the Avista Foundation. A total of $28,150 has been donated to food banks in Washington, Idaho, Montana and Oregon by Avista Corp.
and the Avista Foundation.
“Community food banks are providing vital safety-net services in the communities we serve. Through their buying power and relationships with food producers, the food banks are able to leverage donations like ours to bring several times their value to help stock the shelves for those in need,” said Scott Morris, chairman, president and CEO of Avista Corp. “Helping limited income families and seniors meet their nutritional needs is an important part of our emphasis on providing assistance to reduce poverty in the communities served by Avista Utilities.”
In addition, Avista employees donated $8,000 to the Second Harvest Food Bank during “Tom’s Turkey Drive,” a Thanksgiving event sponsored by KREM television. Avista Foundation matched that amount, for a total donation to Second Harvest of $16,000.
Funding for donations, other than employee gifts, comes from foundation funds and company profits. It is not included as a cost to customers in developing retail rates.
Dec 10 , 2012
Avista has long been a part of Clarkston’s annual Lighted Christmas Parade and this year was no different. An Avista line truck – used by our electric crews – appeared in the parade and was adorned with many, many light strands that certainly made for a festive feeling.
Several employees’ children or grandchildren volunteered to hand out candy along the route alongside the truck. Special thanks to the kids: Anna Duman, Eli Duman, Cam Knight and Sean Sharpes.
Dec 04 , 2012
Avista a big supporter of veterans and military families
Pride and patriotism were flowing on Friday, Nov. 30 when more than 50 Avista employees gathered to dedicate a new flagpole located near the front entrance of the Clarkston construction office. The Lewis Clark Valley Veterans Council was at the event to perform an official flag-raising ceremony.
Gene Dickenson being presented with folded flag
in honor of his uncle who served in WWII.
Two flag raisings took place. The first flag rose in honor of Line Foreman, Gene Dickenson’s uncle, who served in World War II. Dickenson’s uncle, Dan Marshall, served in the U.S. Army from 1942-1945. Marshall’s flag was raised to the top of the pole and then lowered to half staff while The Star-Spangled Banner was sung by guest, Sandy Riggers of Craigmont, Idaho. Dickenson was later presented with his uncle’s flag – something his family wanted him to have.
The second flag raised was a new permanent flag, that will fly proudly on the new flagpole. Major Kay Kalbfleish, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Retired helped conduct the ceremony.
Clarkston Operations Manager, Glenn Logsdon spoke about the significance of this event saying, “this is one of the proudest moments of my career at Avista. I have always wanted to do something to honor our veterans. Today is a great day to thank and honor those who have served our country.”
Avista Corp. President, Chairman and CEO, Scott Morris also noted how proud he was of his co-workers who have served in the military and marveled at the strength of their families. Currently Avista has approximately 112 self-declared veterans of military service, about 7 percent of our workforce. As the number of veterans returning home from service increases, Avista is actively working with local organizations to identify opportunities to support veterans-to-work initiatives.
Nov 28 , 2012
This hydroelectric dam on the Clark Fork River is still a youngster at 60 years old
Whenever you flip a light switch, plug in an appliance, or turn on your furnace, you expect and receive energy on demand. Since the completion of our very first hydroelectric project in 1890, Avista’s dams have generated dependable, cost-effective and environmentally responsible power for our customers.
We’ve been celebrating the 60th anniversary of one of our youngest dams, Cabinet Gorge, throughout the year. Recently we had a banner produced that will hang in the control center at the dam. In November, Avista received special recognition from Idaho Lt. Governor Brad Little. The Lieutenant Governor presented a proclamation honoring
the contribution of Cabinet Gorge to the region and the state of Idaho.
This year also marks the 14th year of successful, collaborative implementation of the Clark Fork Settlement Agreement, a multi-stakeholder agreement for managing and protecting the natural resources associated with our Clark Fork Hydroelectric Project. The agreement, signed in 1999 after several years of negotiation, resulted in a 45-year operating license from FERC to operate Cabinet Gorge and Noxon Rapids.
With growing development of renewable energy like wind and solar, which depend on variable fuel sources, our dams are even more important as a dependable source of energy. Water can be stored and hydropower plants can be fired up quickly to meet energy need when the wind isn’t blowing.
Nov 21 , 2012
If you want to be both festive and frugal with your holiday lighting this season, make sure to include LED lights in your decorations. They are not only affordable, but LED’s use about 1/10th of the electricity used by old school holiday light bulbs. LED’s in general have the added benefit of being more durable than incandescent lights.
If you want to be super savvy with saving energy, shop for ENERGY STAR qualified LED lights. They can last up to 10 years and are cool to the touch…which reduces the risk of fire. Not only that, but they are more durable than glass incandescent lights which means less risk of electrical exposure with broken bulbs.
Inflatable lawn decorations are definitely festive, but they can also add to your seasonal energy bill. An inflatable ranging in size from four feet to 12 feet can add from $1.11 to $1.68 to your bill if run for 8 hours a day for 30 days. When used for 24 hours a day for 30 days, the additional cost would be from $3.34 to $5.05 per inflatable.
Another tip for managing your seasonal energy bill is to use a timer for outdoor and tree lights and for inflatable lawn decorations. Be sure the timer is designed to handle the total wattage plugged into it.
When installing any type of holiday lighting, keep in mind the following safety tips:
• Watch for overhead power lines when installing outdoor lights.
• Check lights for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Discard damaged sets.
• Do not overload outlets or plug more than three strings of lights into an extension cord.
• Unplug lights before watering the tree and keep cords and light sets away from the water.
For additional energy savings tips and information on Avista’s energy efficiency rebate and incentive programs that can help your home use less energy year round, visit www.everylittle.bit.com
Nov 16 , 2012
It was a short event, but long on good feelings. Avista hosted three distinguished visitors on Nov. 15 and an enthusiastic group of employees was there to join in the fun.
Captain Kyle Smith of the Salvation Army presents
the “Making Spokane Better” award to Avista and our
employees. This is the highest award the non-profit
organization bestows on a business.
Tom Sherry, local TV weatherman and head cheerleader for the KREM 2 Tom’s Turkey Drive, made his annual visit to Avista to receive the “big check” donation in support of the effort to provide 11,000 holiday meals to those in need in our community. Avista Vice President of Customer Solutions Jason Thackston presented Tom with a check for $16,000 -- $8,000 in donations from Avista employees matched by the Avista Foundation. That will equate to 800 meals that will feed more than 3,000 people on Thanksgiving.
Captain Kyle Smith and Stan Parrish from the Salvation Army also were on hand to present the “Making Spokane Better” award to Avista and our employees. This is the highest award the non-profit organization bestows on a business. The award recognizes the Avista Foundation’s grants for programs like the Salvation Army’s Spokane Nurturing Center, the Coeur d’Alene Kroc Center and the Lewiston Community Center. Of special note in the award, the Salvation Army called out the exemplary volunteerism of Avista Utilities employees, including the more than 100 employees who volunteered at the Backpack Distribution/Energy Fair event
this past August.
In making the presentation, Capt. Kyle said, “Even without the charity this company gives to the community, Avista and its employees make Spokane a better place to live. We greatly appreciate the leadership Avista has shown in strengthening the safety net services for those most in need in our community.”
Nov 15 , 2012
We’re lucky to live in an area that experiences very few power outages related to storms. But, that doesn’t mean we’re immune to the treachery of old man winter. A heavy build-up of ice and snow on power lines can cause wires to snap and utility poles to topple. Falling trees and tree limbs covered in ice can bring down power lines, cause outages, and threaten property, even lives.
While it is never our intent for you to experience a lengthy outage, being prepared and knowing what to do during an extended power outage is essential. Rest assured that our crews work diligently to restore power as quickly and safely as possible. Here are six must-know tips on how to prepare for a winter power outage:
1. Keep the following emergency supplies on hand: flashlights with fresh batteries, a battery operated radio, matches, candles, first-aid kit, a manual can opener, water and nonperishable food.
2. Have a cell phone or land-line telephone. Cordless phones will not work without electricity. Program Avista’s customer service number into your phone (1-800-227-9187). You can report and track the status of an outage online at www.avistautilities.com
3. Find out ahead of time how to manually open and close any electric garage doors, security doors or gates.
4. Identify the most insulated room in your home in advance; that's where you and your family can gather if you need to stay warm.
5. Protect sensitive equipment such as computers, DVD players and televisions by installing surge protectors or other power protection devices. This measure can prevent a sudden surge of electricity from damaging your equipment.
6. Make sure your smoke alarms and CO2 detectors have fresh batteries.
During an outage, you’ll want to be prepared as well. Be sure to:
• Turn off electric appliances as well as lights that were in use when the power went off. This will help prevent power surges when the electricity is restored.
• Avoid heating your home or cooking indoors with an outdoor grill or other items not intended for indoor use. They can create deadly fumes if used inside.
• To keep pipes from freezing, wrap them in insulation or layers of newspapers, covering the newspapers with plastic to keep out moisture. Let faucets drip a little to avoid freezing.
• Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to prevent food spoilage.
• Leave one light switch on so you know when your electricity has been restored.
• Assist family members or neighbors who may be vulnerable if exposed to low temperatures for extended periods.
• Once your power is back online, turn on your front porch light. This can help Avista crews working in a neighborhood know which homes have power.
When outside, treat all downed and hanging lines as if they are active electric lines: Stay away, warn others to stay away, and immediately contact Avista at 1-800-227-9187. If traffic lights are out of service, treat the intersection like a four-way stop.
For more safety tips visit us online.
for a printable list to store in a handy location at your home or on your mobile device.