Mar 15 , 2012
Flickr slideshow
 
New poles and electric lines assure an efficient electric delivery system

Reliability: Click to View Service Territory Map
As you head west on East Sprague Avenue in the Spokane Valley over the next two to three months, you may notice some construction activity with Avista Utilities trucks and crews working in the area.

In order to continue to 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 in Spokane Valley and throughout our service territory are 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.

For more stories about reliability, renewable energy, the environment, community, rates and more, visit us here at the Avista Blog often.

Much of this blog post was originally posted on Feb. 15, 2012.

 
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Published: 3/15/2012  2:35 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Mar 15 , 2012
video

Post & video by Dan Kolbet
 
Reliability: Click to View Service Territory Map
When the lights flicker or go out, you expect someone at Avista be working on getting that power back on, and rightfully so. Often our crews are working on your power down the street or somewhere out of your view and you don’t get the chance to see their work, other than when the lights come back on. On a very windy February day, we rode along with an electrical crew that was restoring power to show you some of the work that goes into a typical restoration.

The video shows that a tree branch came into contact with a power line, damaging some overhead equipment. Crews made a temporary fix and routed power around the damaged insulator, then moved on to the next outage. A permanent fix for the insulator will occur after winds calm. If we had made that longer repair first, the crew wouldn’t have been able to move on to the next outage so quickly, potentially lengthening another customer’s restoration time.

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." A sad song, but fitting for such a windy, dusty day!

For more stories about reliability, renewable energy, the environment, community, rates and more, visit us here at the Avista Blog often.

Much of this blog post was originally posted on Feb. 24, 2012.
 
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Published: 3/15/2012  2:09 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Mar 15 , 2012
video
 
Crews brave the cold to bring reliable service to you in $1.4 million project
 
Post by Dan Kolbet

 
Reliability: Click to View Service Territory Map
If you’ve traveled along Highway 95 in North Idaho by Silverwood this winter, you may have seen Avista natural gas crews working alongside the busy highway. We wanted to let you know what they are up to. Our crews are relocating and increasing capacity for six miles of natural gas pipeline to accommodate a newly constructed highway.

The Idaho Department of Transportation is reconstructing a portion of Highway 95 from approximately Chilco to Athol.  The highway will expand from two to four lanes, which is great for safety and traffic, but means Avista’s existing 3-inch natural gas pipeline needs to move to a new right-of-way on the east side of the road.

Avista is expanding the capacity of the pipeline from 3 to 6 inches too. Expanded capacity helps serve existing customer needs and helps prepare our infrastructure for the future. The estimated cost for this project is around $1.4 million. Part of our requests for customer rate adjustments typically includes infrastructure work like this project.

You can see from the video that the crews are clearing a pathway, laying down 40-foot lengths of yellow plastic pipe, fusing them together and then burying the pipeline with sandy soil. The sandy soil protects the pipeline from being touched rocks or hard objects that could put pressure on the new pipeline. After the line is in place it will be pressure tested before being brought into service.

The project started in mid-December and should be completed by the end of March. One of the biggest hurdles the crews had to overcome in January and February was snow and frost. At times crews had to dig through 12 to 24 inches of frozen ground to make a trench that goes much deeper. Typically large projects like this aren’t completed during winter months, but Avista and other utilities agreed to do the work now to accommodate the Idaho Department of Transportation’s aggressive schedule. Snow means everything gets covered and can slow progress, but our crews are used to working through it.

For more stories about reliability, renewable energy, the environment, community, rates and more, visit us here at the Avista Blog often.

Much of this blog post was originally posted on Jan. 6 and 18.
 
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Published: 3/15/2012  1:42 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post