Partnering with Others

Identification of stakeholders

Avista’s stakeholders are numerous and as varied as the people they represent and serve. We are focused on balancing our relationships with all our stakeholders, helping us to communicate more effectively and develop services and partnerships that are most beneficial and appropriate. Our stakeholders include residential, commercial and industrial customers; investors; commercial lenders and financial analysts; active and retired employees; residents of the communities we serve and those of neighboring cities and towns; non-profit and low income advocates; federal and state regulators; vendors; elected officials; media channels and other companies in the energy industry.

Approaches to stakeholder engagement

  • Issue-focused meetings with key groups e.g. Technical Advisory Committees, External Energy Efficiency Board, community town hall meetings, etc.
  • Customer Outreach with two-way communications—issue-focused emails, blog postings, social media channels (Twitter, Avista Blog, online chats), listening posts, focus groups, surveys, community meetings, print, electronic media channels, electronic and print newsletters, bill stuffers, call-in information lines, etc.;
  • Customer Satisfaction Surveys—asking 1,600 residential and business customers each year who have completed a transaction with the company to report on components of the interaction as well as their overall satisfaction. Customer satisfaction ratings have exceeded 90 percent each of the past 11 years. In addition, tracking surveys are sent to customers twice a year (March and November) to assess perceptions and attitudes about Avista.
  • Regular meetings with media editors and staff to discuss industry and utility issues and a commitment to responding to media inquiries within 30 minutes;
  • Employee communications tools such as electronic and print newsletters, issue information sheets, pre-packaged information tools for managers, and quarterly meetings with executives.
Employee Engagement
  2010 2008 2006
Employee participation (Completing the survey) 74% 69% 72%
Level of employee engagement in Avista 79%* 79% 74%
*This level of employee engagement is 7 percent higher than the norm for the utility industry as measured by Mercer.
Avista employee engagement (level of commitment to and satisfaction with employment at the company) is measured every two years, beginning in 2006, in partnership with an independent consulting firm.

Key topics raised through stakeholder engagement

Customers have told us their key concerns include energy pricing, electric price increases and executive compensation. A comprehensive, multi-channel customer communication program is actively engaged in increasing customers’ awareness of the rate-making process, rate components, energy efficiency, energy assistance and what Avista is doing to manage our costs.

Stakeholder participation in decision making for energy planning and infrastructure development

We seek out and encourage stakeholder involvement in our activities on a regular basis on a variety of issues, including transmission and distribution projects, and implementing vegetation management programs and the requirements of our hydroelectric licenses.

The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) provides opportunities for input three main groups of stakeholders in energy planning and infrastructure development. These groups include 1) those who provide technical input and review of the resource options, system modeling and results (utility commission staff, planners from other utilities, academics and consultants); 2) those who have an interest in a particular aspect of our Integrated Resource Plan (environmental groups, resource developers and government agencies); 3) members from regional planning organizations (Northwest Power and Conservation Council and Western Electricity Coordinating Council).

In addition, we are in partnership with our External Energy Efficiency (Triple-E) Board, which is comprised of a wide variety of industry and regulatory professionals, as well as Avista staff members. This group advises us on planning and implementing a broad range of energy efficiency programs.