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Jan 18 , 2012
Youtube Video
An Avista electric crew spent a few hours today replacing a utility pole at our Beacon Substation in East Spokane. The original pole caught fire this morning, the exact cause was undetermined. The crew dug through roughly a foot of frost and frozen dirt around the pole before it could be removed. The new pole was placed in the same location as the original. The power lines were temporarily affixed to a nearby pole before being installed permanently on the new pole.

At 11 a.m., temperatures where hovering around 25 degrees with blowing snow at the job site. According to crew members the cold isn’t an issue, they are used to that. The trouble with snow is when they set down a piece of equipment to prep it for installation - the snow buries it in just minutes.

Preparing for an outage
Avista crews are prepared to work in any weather condition to restore your power as quickly and safely as possible. As the snow piles up around our service territory, we expect outages. You can count on Avista to get the lights back on right away, but it’s always best to be prepared at home. Check out these winter weather tips to keep in mind.
Published: 1/18/2012  2:22 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Jan 18 , 2012
Video by Dan Kolbet
If you’ve traveled along Highway 95 in North Idaho by Silverwood recently, you may have seen Avista natural gas crews working alongside 6 miles of the busy highway. The Idaho Department of Transportation is reconstructing a portion of Highway 95 from approximately Chilco to Athol. 

Avista has to move its existing pipeline and is expanding the capacity of the pipeline from 3 to 6 inches. Expanded capacity helps serve existing customer needs and helps prepare infrastructure for the future. The estimated cost for this project is around $1.4 million. Part of Avista's requests for customer rate adjustments typically includes infrastructure work like this project.
Check out the video which was shot in early January 2012. Learn more about the project and view pictures here.

Published: 1/18/2012  8:19 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Dec 01 , 2011

Video Contest

If you have a creative high school student at your house, here’s an idea that can pay off in more ways than one – Avista’s third annual Every Little Bit video contest.

By creating and submitting a 30-second to two minute video about ways we can all limit our energy use, students attending high schools served by Avista could receive a $1,500 or $2,500 tech grant for their school. Plus, students could receive individual awards like an iPad 2, iPod Nano and iTunes gift card.

Videos must be uploaded to Avista’s website – – by Dec. 16. Visitors to the site can vote online for their favorite video until Jan. 13, 2012, when a panel of judges will select the video winners. Judging criteria will include energy efficiency message, originality of approach, creativity, design and style.

Participating in the video contest could have lasting benefits. We hope that by engaging youth in the importance of energy efficiency today, it will help them value saving energy even more when they become customers tomorrow.

Information about the Every Little Bit video contest is at or where you can also watch the 2010 winning videos.
Published: 12/1/2011  10:52 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Nov 29 , 2011
Powering Our Future Video
Post by Brandi Smith, Video by Dan Kolbet

Powering Our Future
The Powering Our Future event featured an interactive
game in resource planning. Participants worked in
small groups to build upon an existing resource mix
portfolio in order to meet the energy needs of their
customers over the next 20 years.
Powering Our Future
The purpose of the game was to educate our
customers about the complexities of the power
planning process and to help them understand how
Avista plans for our energy future while meeting
renewable portfolio standards in a cost-effective
Avista hosted another successful Powering Our Future event, the third in a series, on Thursday, Nov. 17 at CenterPlace in Spokane Valley. The evening was filled with thoughtful insight, conversation and even a game that put guests in the shoes of a power supply planner for a northwest utility company.  The event required reservations, but was open to the public and free to attend.

Dick Storro, Avista’s Vice-President of energy resources, kicked off the event before keynote speaker, Jim Yost, from the Northwest Power and Conservation Council spoke about the importance of balancing the environmental and energy needs of the Northwest. Bob Lafferty, Avista’s Director of Power Supply, teed up the rest of the evening with an engaging discussion about how Avista plans to meet customers’ needs reliably and responsibly while integrating renewable resources.

The evening then shifted gears with an interactive game in power planning. Participants worked in small groups to build upon an existing portfolio of resources in order to meet energy needs of customers over the next 20 years. They were able to choose from a mix of resources such as solar, wind, coal, nuclear power, natural gas, conservation, biomass and hydroelectric power.

Once the groups decided on their preferred resource strategy, they were able to see the impact of their decisions on a computer module. The module displayed how their choices impacted carbon emissions, energy costs, the ability to meet peak demand and whether or not their preferred mix satisfied Washington State renewable energy credits.

“The interactive element of the program helped our guests understand the complexities of the power planning process,” Lafferty said. “By giving them a game to play, they were able to see the cost and environmental tradeoffs of their decisions as well as whether their choices met peak demand.”

The event was capped off with a lively question and answer session followed by a social hour where attendees were given the opportunity to mingle with speakers and Avista employees. The purpose of the event was to educate customers about how Avista plans for the future of energy while also meeting renewable portfolio standards in a cost-effective way. 
Published: 11/29/2011  12:22 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Nov 08 , 2011
Noxon video
Video Interview by Brandi Smith
The last turbine to be upgraded at Noxon Rapids Dam was removed from service on Oct. 19, 2011. Avista's Brandi Smith interviewed project engineer P.J. Henscheid on the big day. See the video above.
The removal of the turbine is part of a $45 million project to upgrade four original generating units with newer, more efficient technology. The project started in July 2008 and is on schedule to be finished by spring 2012.

Learn more about the project here.

UPDATE Febrary 2012: The new Unit 4 has been installed. Watch a video of the crew discussing the project.

Published: 11/8/2011  8:45 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Sep 19 , 2011
Audit video
Post by Dan Kolbet
Since today we announced a new lowest price for the In-Home Energy Audits (as low as $49), I thought it would be nice to show you what these audits actually do for you and your home. Watch the video above to find out.

Residents living anywhere within the boundaries of Spokane County can visit to learn how much funding they qualify for and how to start the audit process.
Published: 9/19/2011  3:22 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Jun 23 , 2011
SNAP video
Post by Dan Kolbet
Just because it’s not cold outside, doesn’t mean you can ignore your heating bills. SNAP created the video above to remind qualified folks in Spokane County to contact them about heating assistance. It’s a good reminder.
Published: 6/23/2011  11:22 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Apr 21 , 2011
Bunny video
Post by Dan Kolbet 
The folks over at killed a bunny for Easter. It was a chocolate bunny and it was for science – so it’s OK.

Ninety percent of the energy emitted by a standard incandescent light bulb goes towards the production of heat and not light. To demonstrate the heat-emitting, energy-wasting ways of incandescent light bulbs, two blinged-out chocolate bunnies in the above video are put to the test. Check out the video to see which one survives. I bet you can guess.

Editor’s Note: We at the Avista Blog do not recommend melting bunnies of any kind (they are too yummy), but we’ve made an exception for this little demo. But seriously, we don’t endorse any particular brand of lighting, but love the effort to show how LEDs are cool and efficient.

Try some LED (or even CFL) lighting when you can – it just might save your bunny.
Published: 4/21/2011  11:25 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Apr 19 , 2011
Mock Natural Gas Emergency video
“This is a mock emergency. I repeat a mock emergency.”
Post by Dan Kolbet
Avista officials and local first responders discuss the scene.
Avista officials and local first responders discuss the scene.
The 911 call came in just after 8 a.m. A passerby noticed a backhoe in a ditch, a body on the ground nearby and a fire billowing from a possibly ruptured natural gas line. 
Quick quiz: what do you do?
That’s the question Avista and Stevens County first responders were faced with last week during a staged or mock natural gas emergency in Arden, Wash. I was lucky enough to be on-site during the exercise to film the events as an unofficial observer. Check out the two-minute video of what happened above.
The fire department arrived on scene first to contain the fire and rescue the backhoe operator. Avista was also alerted of the incident by 911 operators and responded to the scene, running through the steps employees would take in the event of a real emergency, such as shutting of gas to the ruptured line and making repairs.
Avista facilitates exercises like this one for the worst-case scenario. We want to be prepared to ensure the safety of our customers, employees and the public. We work closely with local first responders so we are all prepared to take action when called upon.
Call 811 – the safe thing to do
More often than not, the cause of natural gas or electric line dig-ins is a third-party, which is why this scenario is so realistic. April is Safe Digging Month, but anytime is a good time to be safe about digging at your home or business. It’s not only the smart and safe thing to do to call 811 at least two working days before you plan to dig, it’s the law.
What’s a transmission pipeline?
Avista has around 125 miles of transmission pipeline in its system. This represents only about 1 percent of our total miles of pipeline. The pipeline used in this simulation is one of those few transmission lines. It’s about 74 miles long and runs between North Spokane and Kettle Falls. This particular line is 8 inches in diameter, but the designation is not based on size alone. A pipeline is designated transmission, when it exceeds 20 percent of its total yield strength (or capacity pressure.)
More from the Avista Blog
Sept. 16, 2010: California natural gas incident raises questions about pipelines, safety   
Published: 4/19/2011  9:59 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Mar 25 , 2011
Post by Dan Kolbet

It’s been a little while since I posted an Energy on the Street video here on the blog. I absolutely love this project and how we’ve been able to shape it together by beging transparent about it from the beginning. By posting on the blog and twitter where we would film and who was answering questions, we hopefully built some excitement for the launch of the videos way back in September.

We haven’t released any new videos since December, so to help broaden the reach of the videos, I posted some of our most popular ones on YouTube, where hopefully they will be seen by Avista customers like you. You can see all the videos at

As always, Energy on the Street is a living project and we’d like your submissions. Send us a video or e-mail about whatever energy related topic you’re interested in and we’ll do our best to get you an answer.

In the meantime, enjoy the video above about Public Utility Districts (PUDs) and Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs).
Visit the YouTube Channel: 
Published: 3/25/2011  4:07 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

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