Mar 01 , 2012
If you are an Avista customer in Washington or Idaho, you will see a decrease in your natural gas rates starting today, March 1. The wholesale cost of natural gas is a major driver in the price you pay per month for gas. The cost of natural gas makes up about 65 percent of your bill. This cost is passed through directly to you without mark up.
With the new lower rates now in effect, a residential customer in Washington using an average of 67 therms per month will see a decrease of $3.90, or 6.0 percent, for a revised monthly bill of $60.73. An Idaho residential customer using an average of 62 therms per month will see a $3.46, or 5.7 percent, decrease for a revised monthly bill of $57.50. Avista has approximately 149,000 natural gas customers in Washington and 76,000 in Idaho.
The utility commissions in both states quickly approved Avista’s Feb. 13 requests to lower natural gas rates because of declining wholesale prices. This request is called a Purchased Gas Cost Adjustment (PGA). The PGA approval is good news for you, so we wanted to pass these price decreases on to you as quickly as we could.
PGA filings are typically made once a year in the fall to balance the cost of wholesale natural gas purchased by Avista to serve you. Given the decline in wholesale natural gas prices, Avista proposed to decrease the natural gas rates our customers pay to better reflect current market prices for natural gas.
Feb 28 , 2012
Anne Marie Axworthy, director of Consumer Affairs and Avista
Foundation Executive Director Kristi Meyer, guide Avista’s
philanthropic activities, including the support of educational
programs that garnered the company the “Child Advocate of
the Year” honors from Providence Sacred Heart Children’s
Over 300 people came together in a banquet room in Spokane last week to have a little fun, eat a little candy and raise some serious money for the Providence Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital to expand pediatric services. As part of that celebration, Avista was recognized as a “Child Advocate of the Year,” one of four honors given out that day and the first and only one given to a corporation in the history of the award.
In granting the award, Sacred Heart host Kathy Maurer said, “Avista Corporation, through the Avista Foundation, has been a community leader in supporting K-12 education, particularly in the fields of science, math and technology; and higher education, including scholarships. The Foundation provides college scholarships for engineering, IS and the crafts; increases the pipeline of kids seeking engineering and technical careers by increasing interest in math, science and technology; and provides opportunities for underserved kids to seek a college education.”
“This is a wonderful honor for Avista and for the employees who are the arms and legs and talent of our company in the communities we serve,” said Anne Marie Axworthy, director of Consumer Affairs and president of the Avista Foundation. “We’re all committed to working with organizations that support opportunities for children to have dreams, and, importantly, to help make them come true as they grow into contributing members of society.”
Feb 24 , 2012
Over the past few years, we’ve made a point of reaching out to the communities we serve to have conversations about our energy future. Recently, we had the opportunity to participate in a talk radio show, “Money Management,” on Spokane’s KXLY 920 am (www.kxly920.com
) to share information about the financial side of Avista Corp. Chief Financial Officer Mark Thies and Investor Relations Manager Jason Lang gave listeners a general overview of the corporation, as well as some insight into two of the operating divisions of Avista Corp
, namely Avista Utilities and Ecova
, our primary unregulated operating division.
(From left) Mike Maehl, radio host; Mark Thies,
Avista Chief Financial Officer; Jason Lang, Avista
Investor Relations Manager; Jim Harvey, radio
host.Listen to the audio to hear what was
We’ve provided a link to a recording of the program (audio link) in this posting so you can listen to the conversation Mark and Jason had with host Mike Maehl and Jim Harvey, his partner from the financial consulting firm Opus 111 Group. They talked about topics as wide ranging as Avista’s ranking among the greenest utilities in the country in generating electricity to implementing smart grid technology on our system; from total shareholder return to the dividend yield on Avista common stock. You’ll also be interested to hear about Ecova, which provides energy and sustainability management services to businesses in the Fortune 500.
We encourage you to take about 30 minutes to hear about Avista from some different voices, from those who see our company from the financial perspective. We think you’ll learn a lot and maybe come away from the experience saying, “I didn’t know that!”
Feb 24 , 2012
If you’re a fan of the Discovery Channel’s “American Chopper
; Senior vs. Junior” or you just like to ride, mark your calendar for May 18 and 19 when the 811 Prevention Bike will be in Spokane thanks to a partnership between Avista and the Inland Empire Utility Coordinating Council (IEUCC).
The 811 bike was created by Paul Jr. Designs for One Call Concepts, Inc. as a unique way to promote the message of damage prevention and call before you dig. The construction of the bike will be featured on Feb. 20 and Feb. 27 episodes of the popular “American Chopper” reality television show. Air times are 6 p.m. with a repeat at 8 p.m.
Avista been working with the 811 bike owners to bring it to Spokane at no cost. This will be one of the first national public appearances of the bike since it was unveiled last fall at a damage prevention training conference in Maryland.
Plans are for the 811 bike to be on display at the May 18 Spokane Shock game, followed by the Spokane Lilac Festival Torchlight Parade and car show on May 19. In addition to being on hand at all events with the bike with 811 Call Before You Dig information, Avista employees will also be transporting the bike in the Lilac Parade on a company vehicle.
In 2011, there were 7.9 dig-ins on Avista’s natural gas system for every 1,000 locates, as compared to the national average of 3.7. Avista’s goal for 2012 is to reduce the number of dig-ins by 10 percent to increase public safety and reduce company costs. Bringing the 811 Prevention Bike to Spokane for high-profile community events is one way that we can share the importance of calling before beginning any project that involves digging.
We’ll keep you posted as more plans for the 811 bike are firmed up.
Watch the Feb. 27 episode of "American Chopper" featuring the 811 call before you dig bike at 6 p.m. on the Discovery Channel with a repeat at 8 p.m.
Feb 24 , 2012
Avista crews battle the wind to restore power to North Spokane neighborhood on February 22, 2012. A tree branch came into contact with a power line, damaging the equipment. Crews made a temporary fix and routed power around the damaged insulator, then moved on to the next outage. When winds calm, we'll come back and fix the insulator permanently.
Our crews do this work for you, regardless of weather conditions. A neighboring homeowner even brought out a plate of treats for the crew - very nice of her.
The video is set to the tune of "Dust in the Wind," sad song, but fitting for such a windy, dusty day!
Feb 22 , 2012
North Idaho Christian student Brian Pfau is the 2011 Grand Prize winner for his “One Green World” video. North Idaho Christian School, in Hayden, Idaho, will receive a $2,500 technology grant from Avista.
Students create short videos to show how every little bit adds up for energy savings
Back in December, Avista announced an opportunity for young and aspiring directors and actors to put their creative juices to work and make a short video about energy efficiency through the Every Little Bit Video Contest. After many submissions and tough decisions, several talented and lucky high school students were selected as the third annual Every Little Bit Video winners.
North Idaho Christian student Brian Pfau is the 2011 Grand Prize winner for his “One Green World” video (see video above). North Idaho Christian School, in Hayden, Idaho, will receive a $2,500 technology grant from Avista.
Zane Bickham, Patrick Old and Aneesh Pappu of Pullman High School in Pullman, Wash., are the 2011 Viewer’s Choice Award winners for their film, “Dreaming Of A Cleaner World
.” Their school will receive a $1,500 technology grant from Avista.
Runner-up and honorable mention award winners are from East Valley High School in Spokane Valley, Wash., and Pullman High School. View the top six videos at everylittlebit.com.
Nearly 50 videos were submitted for judging. Students promoted their videos and viewers were able to vote for their favorites online at everylittlebit.com.
A big “congratulations” to all the winners and a tip of the cap to all the submissions. All the videos demonstrated an undeniable truth – everyone wins with energy efficiency.
Feb 21 , 2012
High winds are coming, track and report outages online and on mobile devices
High winds are in our forecast tonight and Wednesday and that could mean power outages. If your power does go out, did you know that you can easily report and track outages from a mobile device or online at www.avistautilities.com?
Reporting an Outage
To report on outage from your mobile device, just enter www.Avistautilities.com
in the browser. The Avista website detects when a customer is using a mobile browser and automatically redirects to our mobile website. Then click on Report Electric Outage. From a computer go to avistautilities.com, and click on the Power Outage link on the home page.
Tracking outages is just as easy, plus you’ll see real-time information on all reported Avista power outages. From a mobile device, enter www.avistautilities.com
in the browser and then click View Outage Status. From a computer, click on the Power Outage link on the www.avistautilities.com
homepage, then click List View.
Selecting List View will take to you to all reported electric outages in a geographic area. Click on an area and you’ll find out about each reported incident – number of customers affected, reason for the outage, date and time it was reported, and estimated restoration time.
Want to know the location of an outage? Click on Map View anywhere within the Power Outage site and you’ll see a map with red triangles indicating each reported outage. Hovering over a triangle or clicking on it will give you the details of the outage. Zooming in on a triangle will take you to street level where the boundaries of the outage are indicated in a shaded area.
Information on an outage is updated as it becomes available, so check our website to stay abreast on the latest information.
Feb 15 , 2012
New poles and electric lines mean a more efficient electric delivery system
As you head west on East Sprague Avenue in the Spokane Valley over the next three to four months, you may notice some construction activity with Avista trucks and crews working in the area.
In order to better serve you with safe, reliable electricity, we’re replacing two miles of old wooden poles with new ones. We are also replacing old, smaller wire with larger wire, which increases the efficiency of our delivery of energy to your homes and businesses. The power lines we are working on provide electricity to the entire Sprague/Appleway corridor and the adjacent areas.
The cost of delivering safe, reliable energy includes maintaining a huge system of pipes, poles, generation facilities and substations. Many parts of our system are 30, 40 and even 50 years old.
What you are witnessing is your rate dollars at work to provide safe and reliable service.
Upgrades to our infrastructure, such as this two-mile pole and wire replacement project, make up around 40 percent of your bill – the cost of delivering energy, serving our customers and energy conservation. The other 60 percent is the cost of the energy itself – the cost of generating or purchasing electricity.
So the next time you see projects like the one on Sprague, you’ll get a up close and personal view of the kind of work we do all the time to make sure you have safe, reliable and efficient energy to your home or business.
Some quick facts about delivering energy to you:
• Avista provides electric service to 357,000 customers and natural gas 317,000 homes and businesses across 30,000 square miles. Our service territory spans portions of three states.
• Distribution lines: Avista has more than 18,000 miles of distribution lines traveling from substations to homes and businesses.
• Avista has more than 240,000 distribution wood poles and 33,000 transmission wood poles in its electric system. The average distribution pole costs about $620 each.
• About 68 percent of the wood poles supporting Avista’s 230kV transmission lines are at least 45 years old.
Feb 13 , 2012
An Avista natural gas crew installs a new length of
pipeline in January 2012.
Avista announced today that it has filed a request to lower overall natural gas prices for customers in Washington (6.4%) and Idaho (6%). Just like at your local gas station, the price for natural gas ebbs and flows. Unlike your local gas station, Avista only changes its prices once or twice a year with the approval of the state utility commission. If approved by the commission, the lower rate would be effective March 1.
Below is our news release that details the filing. We’re talking about this filing on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/avistautilities
. We welcome your comments.
Avista requests lower natural gas prices for Washington and Idaho customers
Avista today filed Purchased Gas Cost Adjustment (PGA) requests with the utility commissions in Washington and Idaho to reduce overall natural gas prices by 6.4 percent and 6.0 percent respectively, to be effective March 1.
If the request is approved by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC), a residential customer in Washington using an average of 67 therms per month would see a decrease of $3.90, or 6.0 percent, for a revised monthly bill of $60.73. Washington commercial customers could expect decreases of 7.6 percent for large general service schedule 111, 8.2 percent for extra large general service schedule 121 and 9.5 percent for interruptible sales service schedule 131.
If the request is approved by the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (IPUC), an Idaho customer using an average of 62 therms per month would see a $3.46, or 5.7 percent, decrease for a revised monthly bill of $57.50. Idaho commercial customers could expect decreases of 7.3 percent for large general service schedule 111 and 9.7 percent for interruptible sales service schedule 131. Avista has approximately 149,000 natural gas customers in Washington and 76,000 in Idaho.
“We know many of our customers are concerned about expenses in this economy, and we want to pass these price decreases on to them as quickly as we can,” said Dennis Vermillion, president of Avista Utilities. “The increase in natural gas supply, along with continuing soft demand, is creating the current environment of falling natural gas prices.”
PGA filings are usually made annually in the fall to pass through changes in the cost of natural gas Avista acquires to serve customers. The direct cost of natural gas makes up about 65 percent of an Avista customer’s bill, and this cost can fluctuate up and down based on market prices. Given the decline in wholesale natural gas prices, Avista is proposing to decrease the natural gas rates our customers pay to better reflect current market prices for natural gas. The remaining 35 percent of a customer’s bill covers the cost of delivering the natural gas to customers – the equipment and people needed to provide safe and reliable delivery of service. These costs are changed with state approval of a general rate case request.
Avista does not mark up the cost of natural gas that is purchased to meet customer needs. These changes in natural gas costs and the PGA rate adjustments do not increase or decrease Avista’s earnings.
If approved by the WUTC, overall revenues from Washington customers would decrease by $9.9 million, and if approved by the IPUC, overall revenues from Idaho customers would decrease by $4.1 million.
Avista’s rate applications are proposals, subject to public review and a decision by the WUTC and the IPUC. Copies of the applications are available for public review at the offices of the WUTC and the IPUC, as well as at Avista, and they are available on the WUTC’s website at utc.wa.gov
and the IPUC's website at puc.idaho.gov
. The commissions will begin a review of Avista's applications and will seek public input on the company's request.
Feb 06 , 2012
By Brandi Smith
Avista recently sent out the latest issue of the Spokane River Newsletter, a quarterly publication that keeps subscribers informed about our activities in and around the Spokane River. Below is an article from the newsletter that describes how we operate the Post Falls Dam during the winter season. Check out the latest issue
and learn more about what Avista has been up to.
Winter river flows and Coeur d’Alene Lake levels
People commonly think floods occur in the spring. But did you know many of the highest levels recorded for Coeur d’Alene Lake have occurred in the winter? For example, on Christmas day in 1933 the lake reached an all-time peak of roughly eleven feet over its summer level.
Coeur d’Alene Lake is a natural lake with an outlet that naturally restricts its outflow. The primary sources of water into the lake are the St. Joe, St. Maries and Coeur d’Alene rivers. The water then flows through the outlet to create the Spokane River. Avista’s Post Falls Hydroelectric Dam is on the Spokane River, nine miles downstream of the lake’s outlet. The dam affects Coeur d’Alene Lake elevation for about half of the year. During winter and spring, lake levels are controlled entirely by the natural outlet restriction and inflows.
The winter months are generally the wet season in our region. Fluctuating temperatures, rain that occurs on top of snow, or extended heavy rain can increase flows rapidly, which in turn can result in quickly-rising river and lake elevations.
Avista’s goal each year is to draw Coeur d’Alene Lake down six to seven feet below the summer level by early January. This allows Post Falls Dam to generate electricity while providing capacity in the lake for later precipitation and runoff. Natural inflows usually exceed our turbine capacity early in the year, letting Coeur d’Alene Lake and the Spokane River find their naturally occurring levels with no influence by the dam. This free flow condition typically continues through spring run-off until late May, June or early July.
River and lake levels can change quickly. We want you to stay safe, so always use caution on the water and comply with all posted notices and closures, especially in the vicinity.
Avista has a 24-hour telephone information line that provides notification of anticipated elevation changes on Coeur d’Alene Lake, Lake Spokane and the Spokane River.
In Idaho, call (208) 769-1357, in Washington call (509) 495-8043
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