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Avista offers winter billing information and cold weather tips
Inland Northwest homes and businesses typically see highest energy bills of the year in January and February; energy efficiency can help manage energy costs

Feb. 10, 2014:  Mother Nature isn’t letting up on cold temperatures and snow yet, so Avista offers information on your energy bill and a few tips on managing your energy use.
 
Because of our longer heating season, customers’ energy bills are typically the highest of the year in January and February. With sustained cold temperatures this time of year, heating systems run longer and work harder to keep the temperature at the level set on the thermostat which increases energy use.
In addition to energy use, the number of days in a billing cycle will also have an impact on energy bills. The average number of days in a billing cycle is 31, but it can range from 28 to 34 depending on the number of days in a month and any holidays. The number of days in a customer’s billing cycle is displayed on each monthly bill.
Heating and cooling a home can make up as much as half of annual energy use, so taking steps in winter to keep the warm air inside the home and the cold air outside can help manage energy use. Some easy ways to get started include:
·         Set your thermostat to 68 degrees and lower it to 63 at night and when leaving the house. If you have a heat pump as the main heating source, a two to three degree setback is what is recommended. Installing a programmable thermostat will let you set it and forget it.
·         Seal air leaks by installing door sweeps on exterior doors or putting a towel at the bottom of the door, caulking around windows and exterior doors, and installing foam insulators behind switch plates and outlet covers on exterior walls.
·         Clean or replace furnace filters regularly. And, keep vents clear of obstructions.
·         Electric space heaters are more efficient when used to heat a smaller occupied space or in a common area that is generally cooler than the rest of the house. 
·         Limit using an open fireplace when it is extremely cold because the fireplace will draw heated air from your home and send it up the chimney.
 
Additional low- and no-cost energy efficiency information, including rebates and incentives for customers, is available at www.avistautilities.com. There, customers can also access tools that provide a month-to-month comparison of their bills with details on factors impacting each bill and other helpful information, such as a graph on two-year energy consumption.
 
Avista also offers a number of services for customers who may need help with their energy bill such as energy assistance, comfort level billing, payment arrangements and Customer Assistance Referral and Evaluation Services (CARES).  The CARES program provides assistance to special-needs customers through referrals to area agencies and churches for help with housing, utilities, medical assistance and other needs. More information about these services is also available at 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 our operating division that provides electric service to 364,000 customers and natural gas to 321,000 customers.  Our service territory 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's primary, non-utility subsidiary is Ecova, an energy and sustainability management company with over 700 expense management customers, representing more than 700,000 sites. Our stock is traded under the ticker symbol "AVA."  For more information about Avista, please visit www.avistacorp.com.

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