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Avista Reminds Natural Gas Customers to Protect Meters
Avoid dangerous situations by keeping meters and vents clear of snow and ice

Spokane, Wash.: Spokane, Wash., Dec. 28 2007: With the accumulation of heavy snow in many areas, Avista asks customers to carefully clear snow away from natural gas meters and from appliance vents located outside the home. This will help prevent damage to the meters and help ensure the proper and safe operation of appliances, such as furnaces, water heaters, natural gas fireplaces and clothes dryers.

It is important for customers to keep gas meters accessible for monthly readings, periodic maintenance and emergencies. However, If your meter is covered with ice, do not attempt to remove it yourself. Please call Avista for assistance,
(800) 227-9187.

Natural gas is one of America's best energy sources because it is clean, plentiful, reliable and efficient. But, like other forms of energy, natural gas can be dangerous if used improperly.

Here are some safety tips:

Keep Your Meter and Vents Clear
Carefully remove snow from the meter to prevent damage.
Check the snow pack and the icicles on your roof. Remove any snow or ice that could potentially land on your meter or block a vent.
Never kick or hit a natural gas meter or its piping to break away built-up snow or ice. 
A clear meter also provides easier, safer access for maintenance and emergency responders, as well as an accurate meter reading. 
All direct-vent appliances require an uninterrupted supply of fresh air and a clear exhaust path in order to work properly and safely. Be sure to clear snow from all exterior vents.
Blowing and drifting snow can block the intake and exhaust vents, forcing appliances to automatically shut down and possibly causing serious damage and/or health risks.

If You Smell or Hear Gas
Natural gas itself is odorless. So, Avista adds a chemical (mercaptan) to it. This chemical can tip you off to possible gas leaks because it smells like rotten eggs. A gas leak can be very dangerous. Make sure everyone in your family knows what to do if they hear or smell gas.
Do not smoke, light matches, turn electrical switches on or off, use the telephone or take any other action that might create a spark. 
Evacuate everyone in your home or building. 
Telephone Avista Utilities at (800) 227-9187 immediately from a neighbor's phone. 
Don't go back inside your home or building until Avista Utilities says it is safe. 
Keep others away from the area.

If you are out of town this time of year, you will want to have someone check on your property to ensure your meter is clear.

For more safety information, visit the Avista Utilities Web site www.avistautilities.com.

Avista Corp. is an energy company involved in the production, transmission and distribution of energy as well as other energy-related businesses. Avista Utilities is a company operating division that provides service to 346,000 electric and 305,000 natural gas customers in three western states. Avista’s non-regulated subsidiaries include Advantage IQ and Avista Energy. Avista Corp.’s stock is traded under the ticker symbol “AVA.” For more information about Avista, please visit www.avistacorp.com. Avista Corp. and the Avista Corp. logo are trademarks of Avista Corporation.

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