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Avista reminds customers to stay safe - call 811 before digging
April marks fifth annual National Safe Digging Month

April 3, 2012: Before starting an outdoor project this spring, make sure to play it safe and call 811 before doing any type of digging. Whether you’re a contractor or a do-it-yourself homeowner, knowing where underground utility lines are buried before you dig will help protect you from injury, prevent damages to utilities and service disruptions, and avoid potential fines and repair costs.
 
Governors Christine Gregoire of Washington, C.L. “Butch” Otter of Idaho and John A. Kitzhaber of Oregon have all issued proclamations for their state recognizing April as Safe Digging Month and encouraging citizens to contact the 811 one-call service two days in advance for free locates of underground utilities lines.
 
“Calling 811 gives customers peace of mind when stepping on the shovel or starting up the backhoe.  There is no worrying about safety, extra cost or downtime -- all of which can happen from digging into an underground line. Plus calling 811 or going online at www.call811.com  is quick and easy,” said Terry Bushnell, Avista Utilities. “At Avista, safety is a top priority. That’s why we’re reminding customers that even a simple project like digging a hole for a mailbox post or planting a tree can have serious consequences if they don’t call 811 first.”
 
In 2011, there were 552 incidents of damages to Avista’s underground natural gas lines from customer or contractor dig-ins. That’s 7.9 dig-ins for every 1,000 locates which is higher than the national average of 3.7. Avista’s goal is to reduce the number of dig-ins in 2012 by 10 percent to increase public safety and reduce costs.
 
The depth of utility lines varies and there may be multiple utility lines in one common area, so it’s important to know where all are located before digging. For more safe digging tips, visit www.avistautilities.com/safety/call and make sure to call 811 or go online at www.call811.com two working days before starting any project that involves digging.
 
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 360,000 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 more than 500 multi-site commercial and utility customers, representing more than 450,000 sites.  Our 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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