Jul 06 , 2012
Post Falls Dam
 

On the Avista blog last week we announced summer work taking place at Post Falls Dam.

We’re replacing the lifting hoists and old timber intake gates with modern lifting hoists and new steel gates. The work is expected to update a system that is more than 100 years old in places, enhancing safety and increasing reliability and efficiency at the dam. We were also planning to refurbish the spill gates in the south channel of the river, but that project has been postponed until 2013.

The intake gate replacement project is scheduled for July-November 2012 while river flows are at summer levels. During the project, we’ll do our best to minimize the disruption to recreation and power generation as much as possible, but the work is important so we can continue to safely generate clean, reliable hydropower. The project will affect park users, boaters and dam operations.

Q’emiln Park Boat Launch: During the work, at least two generator units must be taken out of service, which reduces the amount of water that can pass through the powerhouse at any one time. This means the total river flow will need to be lower than normal before the spill gates can be closed and the Q’emiln Park boat launch can be opened. Depending on weather, this will likely take place sometime in mid-July.

Falls Park: Falls Park visitors will see equipment and temporary work structures in and around the river, including cranes, barges, trucks and contractors throughout the project duration. Some areas of the park may be temporarily fenced off, and detours or alternate viewpoints may be designated for park visitors. For your safety, please obey posted signs, stay out of the area of the river below the dam and keep clear of designated work areas.

Post Falls Dam Informational Meeting July 10
Avista will host an informational meeting to discuss the project and answer questions on July 10 from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Post Falls Police Department in Post Falls at 1717 E. Polston Ave. The meeting is open to the public. For more information, please call Mac Mikkelson at 509-495-8759. We'll be sure to keep you updated as the project reaches completion.
 
Published: 7/6/2012  3:09 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Jun 08 , 2012
slide show
 
Safety is a family affair in Oregon
 
Post by Dan Kolbet

Avista’s commitment to safety extends beyond our workday and jobsite – all the way down to our grandkids. Last Saturday Avista’s Eddie Randles recruited his 7-year-old granddaughter Arianna to help at Safety Saturday at the Rogue Valley Mall in Medford, Oregon.

Randles started the day with a Tailboard Meeting – just like employees who go out into the field to fix gas leaks or build new pipelines. (That’s her focused, arms-crossed look in the picture.) The detailed briefing taught Arianna all of the natural gas display items for the event and how they work.

“She even installed my pressure gauge build-up on the gas meter and found a leak with the Rover,” Randles said. “She was so versed in the different parts of the meter she was able to describe it to the Red Cross gentleman [see photo].”

The event was free and open to the public. Dozens of organizations provided information and exhibits, from document spreading to fire prevention to electric and gas safety.

Thanks Eddie and Arianna for going the extra mile for safety!

If you have a safety question about electric or gas, visit our website for more information. And don't forget to call 811 two days before you plan to dig.
Published: 6/8/2012  11:17 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

May 30 , 2012
Cover of Shared Value Report
 
 
Over the past few years, we’ve heard from our customers and employees that they want more information on how we do business in areas like utility operations, environmental stewardship and our community impact. We’re glad you asked!

That information and more is available in our fourth annual report on our performance, “Together We Will Build Shared Value,” now online at avistautilities.com.
 
Our primary mission is to provide the energy you need for your life. The back story is all about 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. For example, in the Utility Operations section we talk about how Avista must meet state-mandated energy savings targets. As part of our sustainable business practices, the report is published online only. 
 
We’ve made PDF files available of the entire report and four of its sections for your convenience in sharing the report 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. We want to hear from you about how – together – we can continue to build shared value.

 
Published: 5/30/2012  8:43 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

May 15 , 2012
See the bike at the Spokane Shock game, Spokane Lilac Festival Torchlight Parade and Cruzin’ the Falls Car Show

Post by Dan Kolbet

811 bike
Avista and the Inland Empire Utility Coordinating Council (IEUCC) have teamed up to bring the 811 Damage Prevention Bike to Spokane at no cost to promote the message of damage prevention and the importance of calling 811 for underground utility locates before starting any project that involves digging. 

Your first chance to see the bike in person will be on the concourse at the Spokane Shock game Friday. The game against the Philadelphia Soul begins at 8 p.m. The bike will also be at the Cruzin the Falls Car Show and in the Spokane Lilac Festival Torchlight Parade Saturday.

Created by Paul Jr. Designs for One Call Concepts, the construction of the 811 bike was featured on the popular “American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior” reality television show on the Discovery Channel. 

Bringing the 811 Damage Prevention Bike to Spokane for high-profile community events is one way that Avista can share the importance of calling 811 for underground utility locates two days before starting any project that involves digging. Decreasing dig-ins on Avista’s natural gas system by 10 percent to increase public safety and reduce company costs is a company goal for 2012.  In 2011, there were 7.9 dig-ins for every 1,000 locates, compared to the national average of 3.7.

Last weekend the bike was at a Seattle Sounders MLS match. See more pictures of the bike on the 811 at http://www.facebook.com/811Bike

Helmet contest on Avista’s Facebook page
Avista is offering a chance for one lucky person, biker or not, to win and design his or her own custom painted motorcycle helmet with the help of Spokane artist George Roybal. To enter the contest go to www.facebook.com/avistautilties “Like” our page and fill out the entry form before May 31.
Published: 5/15/2012  9:33 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

May 01 , 2012
event photos
 
Post by Dan Kolbet

Today First Wind officially broke ground on Palouse Wind, a wind farm near the town of Oakesdale off of State Route 195. Last year Avista signed a 30-year power purchase agreement for the renewable wind power that will be generated at the site once it’s completed later this year.

The wind farm is expected be the largest renewable energy facility in Whitman County with 58 turbines and the capacity to generate enough clean, renewable energy to power about 30,000 of Avista’s customers’ homes.

The power we get from Palouse Wind will be part of a diverse, responsible energy portfolio that includes renewable resources generated right here in eastern Washington. In addition, the project is helping Avista invest in our infrastructure through the transmission upgrades we’re making so we can connect the power to our system. Palouse Wind will help Avista meet its goal of providing reliable energy to our customers at a reasonable cost, while meeting renewable portfolio standards in Washington.

The groundbreaking ceremony included speakers from Avista, First Wind, Vestas, as well as several elected officials from Whitman County and the surrounding area who discussed the benefits of the project to the area’s economy, the surrounding communities and Avista’s customers.

The event was held at the future site of the project’s substation, a leveled section of land among the rolling hills that dot the landscape.

The turbines and their massive blades are not up yet, but will be shipped from Colorado to Washington by train and then transferred by trucks to the site, where they’ll be erected this summer. It should be a site to see. When the turbines go up, we’ll update the blog.
 
Published: 5/1/2012  4:01 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Apr 27 , 2012
slideshow

 
Arbor Day celebrated with award and tree planting

The vocabulary word for today is arboriculture - that’s the planting and care of woody plants, especially trees.

Arboriculture is something that Avista is actively engaged in through our vegetation management program which works to keep trees clear of power lines, helping to ensure reliable service to customers. We’re also engaged in customer and community outreach programs that contribute to a healthy urban tree canopy through tree plantings and that educate customers on the importance of planting the right tree in the right place especially around power lines.

That on-going commitment has earned Avista its first Tree Line USA Award from the Arbor Day Foundation. The national program promotes the dual goals of safe, reliable electric service and abundant, healthy trees across utility service areas. Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, presented Avista with the award today at the Spokane Conservation District in Spokane Valley.

After the presentation the district planted a memorial cockspur hawthorn, the Avista 2012 Utility Smart Tree of the Year. See photos above.

Some of Avista’s programs which contributed to the company receiving the award are:
• The street tree replacement collaboration with Spokane Conservation District and the City of Spokane which removes tall growing trees located beneath power lines and replaces them with low-growing species that are compatible with overhead lines.
• The energy saving shade tree program which is a partnership with the Spokane Conservation District to help residential customers in Spokane County strategically plant shade trees to help reduce their energy costs.
• The announcement of the utility compatible tree of the year and planting of the tree in a ceremony held in Spokane
• Annual Arbor Day celebrations

Also contributing to Avista receiving the Tree Line USA Award is its commitment to quality tree care by adhering to industry standards and ensuring that employees and contract workers are trained in best practices.
 
More information
What kinds of trees can be planted near power lines?
• Only plant tree species that mature at 20’ or less near power lines.
• If you would like a list of power line compatible trees please call 1-800-727-9170, Extension 8514.
• For more species selection good sources of information are the County Extension Offices, City Parks Department, certified arborists, and reputable plant nurseries.
• If planting in city strips there may be ordinances over species selection.
Published: 4/27/2012  11:20 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Apr 18 , 2012
Local Spokane Artist,  George Roybal
 
Enter for a chance to win a custom designed and pained helmet by local artist, George Roybal

Post by Brandi Smith

April is National Call Before you Dig Month, and at Avista we are doing our best to get the word out about how important it is to use the free utility locate system before digging into the unknown territory below.

In honor of the occasion, we have partnered with the Inland Empire Utility Coordinating Council (IEUCC) to bring a custom made chopper designed by Paul Jr. Designs to Spokane at no cost. You may have seen him on the popular reality show, “American Chopper:  Senior vs. Junior” where the design and construction of the 811 Damage Prevention bike was featured.

Contest Entry tab on Facebook
To enter the contest go to
 “Like” our page and fill out the entry form.
It’s that easy.
 
Don’t delay however,
the contest ends on May 31.
But wait, there’s more. Avista is offering a chance for one lucky person, biker or not, to win and design his or her own custom painted motorcycle helmet with the help of Spokane artist George Roybal.

Meet the artist
Known as the "Purveyor of Potent Paint", George Roybal owns and operates Illustrated Air, a custom airbrush, pinstripe, and paint studio located in Spokane Valley, Wash. For over 16 years, George has transformed custom paint in the Inland Northwest. Renowned for his photo realistic airbrush work, he has garnered numerous "Best Paint" awards for his customers including The House Of Kolor "Prestigious Painter" award in 2002 on a 1995 Hummer painted with a cutting edge tribal graphic done entirely freehand.

What we are trying to say is that his work is awesome and you wouldn’t want to miss out on this golden opportunity to win something cool. Entering the contest is as easy as calling in a utility locate. All you have to do is be at least 18, “like” us on Facebook and fill out the entry form.

Why 811 is so important
Last year there were 552 customer or contractor dig-ins to Avista’s underground natural gas lines. That’s 7.9 dig-ins for every 1,000 locates which is higher than the national average of 3.7. Avista’s goal is to reduce the number of dig-ins in 2012 by 10 percent to increase public safety and reduce costs.

The new 811 Damage Prevention Bike created for One Call Concepts, Inc. will be at the May 18 Spokane Shock game and will be in the Spokane Lilac Festival Torchlight Parade and car show on May 19. Bringing the 811 Prevention Bike to Spokane for high-profile community events is one way that we can share with customers and the public about the importance of calling before beginning any project that involves digging.
 
If you have a project that needs a utility locate, call 811 or visit, www.call811.com to submit a request online. Simply click on the "local information" tab to get information on your state's utility locate service.

Published: 4/18/2012  10:28 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Apr 04 , 2012
-Helmet contest in honor of visit by the 811 Damage Prevention Bike created by Paul Jr. Designs
 

The new 811 Damage Prevention Bike created by Paul Jr. Designs for One Call Concepts, Inc. will be at the May 18 Spokane Shock game and will be in the Spokane Lilac Festival Torchlight Parade and car show on May 19.

In honor of the occasion, Avista is offering a chance for one lucky person to win and design his or her own custom painted motorcycle helmet with the help of Spokane artist Greg Roybal. Entry is easy, just “like” us on Facebook. Sorry, but employees and their family members are not eligible to win. It’s that easy.

Avista is partnering with the Inland Empire Utility Coordinating Council (IEUCC) to bring the bike to Spokane at no cost. Bringing the 811 Prevention Bike to Spokane for high-profile community events is one way that we can share with customers and the public about the importance of calling before beginning any project that involves digging.
 
Safety and reliability are top priorities for customers and that’s important when it comes to natural gas. Last year there were 552 customer or contractor dig-ins to Avista’s underground natural gas lines. That’s 7.9 dig-ins for every 1,000 locates which is higher than the national average of 3.7. Avista’s goal is to reduce the number of dig-ins in 2012 by 10 percent to increase public safety and reduce costs.
 
Published: 4/4/2012  3:54 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Feb 28 , 2012

Child Advocate of the Year
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
Hospital.
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.”
Published: 2/28/2012  3:44 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Feb 24 , 2012

Bike

 

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.
Published: 2/24/2012  3:41 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

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