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Avista crews continue making progress restoring power to customers impacted by yesterday’s powerful storm

 Spokane, Wash., Aug. 3, 2014. 5:30 p.m.: As of 5:30 p.m., today about 65 percent of the 48,000 Avista customers who lost power following yesterday’s powerful storm have been restored to service in less than 24 hours.

  • Nearly 10,000 more customers were impacted by yesterday’s storm than the July 23 storm that hit the same areas.
  • The majority of damage appears to have come from large tree branches coming into contact with lines in the especially hard hit areas in north central Spokane, Deer Park, and Colbert, Wash., and Sandpoint and Priest River areas in Idaho. Also damaged in the storm were transmission and distribution poles.
  • About 90 percent of customers are expected to have power restored by Monday night. Because of the extensive damage, it may be Tuesday before some customers in northwest and north Spokane, Sandpoint and Deer Park are returned to service.
  • Avista crews in areas where service has been restored or were not affected by the storm are being relocated to assist crews in areas hardest hit.
  • Contract crews from as far away as Boise are assisting in restoration efforts with Avista actively recruiting additional support.
  • Employee assessor teams are continuing to evaluate damaged locations, with 400 of these in Spokane, 180 in Sandpoint and 100 in Deer Park, to determine the equipment and supplies needed to complete a restoration job. That information is relayed to crews who arrive on site able to safely and efficiently complete the restoration.
  • As damage assessment continues through the evening, restoration update times will be updated and available at www.avistautilities.com.
  • Crews will continue to work around the clock until power is restored to all customers.

Safely restoring power
In storms such as this one, Avista needs to repair its major infrastructure such as substations and transmission lines first. Once those repairs have been made, crews must do a visual inspection of the lines to make sure they are not touching the ground, trees, or other obstacles. This is especially important in the dry, summer conditions we’re experiencing. Once that is complete, power lines into neighborhoods can be repaired and re-energized.

Multiple repairs may be required at different sites before power can be restored to some locations.

Safety First
Stay away from downed power lines. Never touch or attempt to remove fallen limbs from downed or sagging power lines. Treat all power lines as if they are energized or are carrying electrical current. Remember to call Avista immediately at (800) 227-9187 to report the location of the downed power line.

During a power outage
Avista suggests customers take the following steps:

  • Turn off all the appliances you think were on before your power went out.
  • Unplug your electronic equipment, including computers.
  • Leave a light or radio on to let you know when you have service again.
  • Don't wire an emergency generator into your home electrical system. Backfeed into power lines could injure or kill a lineman working to get electricity restored.
  • Use your generator only to run specific appliances, and locate it outside so poisonous carbon monoxide fumes don't enter your home.
  • If you see a downed power line, stay away. Treat all power lines as if they are carrying electrical current, and never touch or move one.
  • To help Avista crews working in a neighborhood know which homes have power, turn on your front porch light.

About Avista Utilities
Avista Utilities is involved in the production, transmission and distribution of energy. We provide energy services and electricity to 366,000 customers and natural gas to 326,000 customers in a service territory that covers 30,000 square miles in eastern Washington, northern Idaho and parts of southern and eastern Oregon, with a population of 1.5 million.  Avista Utilities is an operating division of Avista Corp. (NYSE: AVA). For more information, please visit www.avistautilities.com.

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