Jun 08 , 2009
Post by Dan Kolbet
We’re still a bit new to this blog thing, so we haven’t yet defined exactly what you should expect to read when you visit this blog. One thing is for sure though - we’ll give you the straight-up truth about whatever it is that you want to know about. Got a problem or question? Just send us a note here. We’ll reply to your message directly and maybe talk about it on the blog.
 
For those of you who may have found your way to this page after seeing one of our A New Conversation ads in the newspaper, welcome. You’ve landed in the right place.
 
In other news
I noticed a blog post in the Lewiston Morning Tribune from Friday that might be worth a look. Reporter Elaine Williams discusses Avista and gives a nice recap of why we lowered natural gas rates June 1.

Here’s a taste: “The Idaho Public Utilities Commission allows utilities to pass savings onto its customers when prices for electricity or gas are less than predicted. It also allows temporary increases if the prices for either one are more than predicted. The reason for the latter is that power utilities are a different kind of business. They have to be ready at a instant to provide electricity or gas and they don’t always know what demand will be. In the summer, when the temperature exceeds 100 degrees, Avista has to have enough electricity on hand to power all the air conditioners that are running at full tilt.” Read the full post.
 
Published: 6/8/2009  10:24 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Jun 04 , 2009
If you’re an Avista natural gas customer in Idaho and Washington the price you pay for natural gas went down Monday. Effective June 1, the utility commissions in both states approved our request to decrease natural gas rates. 8.1% in Washington 6.7% in Idaho. Oregon customer rates were not changed. Natural gas rates in Oregon went down 4.1% in November 2008. 
 
The decrease is because the cost we pay for wholesale natural gas has continued to go down. Normally, we’d ask for this type of rate adjustment in the fall, but we know times are tough and so getting you a lower rate sooner is more important than ever. This is the second decrease in rates this year – the other came in January when we were all buried in snow.
 
Because Avista is a regulated utility, we can’t simply raise or lower rates at anytime. We file requests with the utility commissions who review our proposals, hold hearings, listen to your comments and in the end, set our rates and profits that are reasonable and fair.
 
Here’s where it gets tricky. Imagine if your local gas station had to determine what price it would charge for the entire year, about 11 months prior. They’d gain or lose money along the way, while customers continued to pay the same price.
 
We basically do the same thing with natural gas, but typically in the fall, we file a Purchase Gas Adjustment (PGA) with the commissions to true-up the costs. This means that you pay what we pay – which is the best price we can secure on the market.
 
The two recent rate decreases were an early true-up of your rates. We have a lot more detail on this subject here. 
 
Are there any questions about natural gas or anything else that we can answer? Contact us here and let us know.
 
 
Published: 6/4/2009  6:05 AM | 2  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Jun 01 , 2009
Post by Dan Kolbet

For 120 years, Avista (and Washington Water Power for a long time) has been talking with you. OK, none of us have been around that long, but you get the idea. The conversation might have happened at a community event, a ball game, public meeting or you might even know one of our employees personally. As a company we’ve also been speaking with you through our Contact Center, traditional mail, e-mail and our website.
 
The point is this whole “conversation” thing isn’t all that new.
 
Yet, we’ve been missing out recently with a more thorough dialog online. Call it social media or Web 2.0 - we just haven’t been in the picture. That’s all changing with this blog and your participation.
 
We hope that the blog will be a place where you can come and learn more about Avista, our actions and vision for today and the future. But it’s not all about us. We wouldn’t exist without you, and we know it. This blog will feature your stories, questions and opinions. And yes, you can disagree with us – that’s OK.
 
We also hope that this conversation will allow us to better respond to your concerns, while giving you an inside look into our company. Transparency is a good thing.
 
Just a few housekeeping things. If you want to comment on a post, you need to have a My Account associated with an Avista Utilities account at your home or business. It takes just a minute to set up, so you might want to do it today. We’re looking for some meaningful dialog with customers, so we’ve also set some Discussion Guidelines that are worth a look too. 
 
You can also send us an e-mail if you have a question about Avista or utilities in general. We’ll respond within two business days. We may paraphrase your message and share it on the blog to keep this conversation going.
 
So, what’s next? We recently decreased natural gas prices for the second time this year in Washington and Idaho. Why did we do that? What does it mean to your bill?  Get all the answers – and ask us any questions about natural gas this week.
 
This blog thing is new for Avista, but we hope you’ll stick around as we figure out how this conversation can benefit you the most. Got any ideas? Let us know here.
 
Published: 6/1/2009  6:11 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

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