Aug. 5, 2014: Mission accomplished – again. Within three days, Avista restored power to all 48,000 customers impacted by the latest storm to roll through the Inland Northwest, leaving a path of destruction in its wake. The August 2 storm hit just six days after Avista finished cleaning up from a July 23 storm which resulted in the worst damage to the utility’s electric system since Ice Storm in 1996.
“It’s an amazing achievement to restore power to all of our customers within a matter of days following the one-two punch we received from Mother Nature,” said Avista Utilities President Dennis Vermillion. “Given the magnitude of damage from these back-to-back storms, I have the deepest respect for all of our employees who were involved in restoration efforts, especially our Avista crews and the contract crews who worked tirelessly in the heat to turn on the lights and get the air conditioning and fans blowing for our customers.”
“I’m grateful for our customers and their patience and support. Unfortunately, the same areas were hit hard by both storms. That meant some people had their power on for a matter of days before Saturday’s storm left them in the dark again. They’re troopers for sure,” said Vice President of Energy Delivery Don Kopczynski.
Once again, an entire support system was hard at work behind the scenes providing the necessary support to allow field crews to work as efficiently as possible:
· Dispatchers managed more than 13,700 outage reports from customers that were rolled up into jobs and prioritized so they could dispatch crews to areas of highest need.
· Two-person “advance teams” went on location in advance to assess damage and identify needs, which allowed crews to arrive onsite with the right equipment and materials to efficiently complete the job. In Spokane alone, more than 800 incidents were assessed.
· Supply Chain and Warehouse employees worked around the clock to provide materials needed for repairs. Up to 18 contract crews were once again brought in from out of town to help expedite restoration efforts.
o 180 rooms were booked in 7 hotels in the Spokane, Sandpoint and Davenport areas.
· Avista’s Customer Service Representatives managed more than 7,000 customer calls. Another nearly 11,000 additional customer calls were managed by our electronic self-service system between Saturday and Monday at the height of the storm restoration efforts.
· External and Internal Communications provided timely and relevant updates to customers, the media and employees.
o 24 outage-related Facebook posts since Saturday evening reached more than 85,000 people.
o Twitter (@AvistaUtilities) was also a great resource to provide timely information and safety messages to customers and the media to share.
o This storm event garnered Avista’s highest reach through social media to date. One storm-update post had the largest reach of any single Avista Facebook post.
Based on the comments captured by Avista’s Customer Service Representatives, customers appreciated the information that was shared, photos that were posted to Facebook, and the hard work and dedication of employees. Here are a few of their comments:
· A Sandpoint customer wanted to thank the crews in Sandpoint who were able to restore service despite many hazards, including giant trees strewn everywhere and dangerous downed power lines. She was amazed it took such a short time and really appreciates the effort.
· “I have my 90 year old mother living with me, and the outage we experienced was extra stressful and difficult on our family due to my mother’s health. We just wanted to call and say thank you. Our power just turned back on and my mother is already being much calmer.”
· AskAvista comment: “We are so grateful to all of the Avista employees who have worked long, hot hours to make sure power is restored quickly. We know these storms came fast and furious. You wouldn't think being without power for just a short while would be that stressful, but it is. We know Avista went the extra mile too for us and we are grateful! Our family had shouts of joy at 4:00am when everything lit up - THANK YOU!!!!!! Your work doesn't go unnoticed or unappreciated! North Mead Family Very Happy with POWER!”
About Avista Utilities
Avista Utilities is involved in the production, transmission and distribution of energy. We provide energy services and electricity to 365,000 customers and natural gas to 325,000 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.
The Avista logo is a trademark of Avista Corporation.
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