Sustained cold temperatures in the region this week have increased customer demand for electricity and natural gas, setting the fifth highest daily energy load for Avista’s electric system and third highest for its natural gas system.
On Tuesday, Dec. 8, Avista reached a peak load of 1,763 megawatts (MW) of electricity. Avista’s largest peak load of 1,821 MW was set Dec. 16, 2008, one day prior to the area’s record snowfall. The demand for natural gas was 294,637 dekatherms on Dec. 8. Avista has a strategic mix of generation resources, along with purchasing plans and decades of experience to ensure adequate energy supplies to continue meeting the needs of all customers.
The higher than normal energy use this month combined with additional holiday usage could increase customers’ energy bills, which are normally highest in January and February of each year. However, natural gas rates for Avista’s Washington and Idaho customers are about 30 percent lower than this time last year because of lower wholesale natural gas prices.
“We know customers may still be challenged in this economy by winter heating bills, even with the significant natural gas decrease. That’s why we continue to offer energy assistance programs and billing options for customers who may need a helping hand,” said Dennis Vermillion, president of Avista Utilities.
To help customers manage their energy use this winter, Avista suggests the following energy saving tips:
· Do not block heating registers or return air openings.
· Make sure the damper is closed tightly when the fireplace is not in use. A chimney can draw off as much as 25 percent of the heated air in your home if the damper is left open.
· Set the thermostat at 68 degrees when at home, and reduce it to 65 degrees or lower while sleeping. Heating costs can be reduced by approximately 10 percent for each 3 degrees a thermostat is lowered.
· Turn off kitchen, bath and other ventilating fans when not needed. In one hour, these fans can pull a house full of warm air right out of the home.
Information on Avista’s bill assistance program is available at www.avistautilities.com. Energy assistance may also be available through local community action agencies.
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 355,000 homes and businesses and natural gas to 312,000 homes and businesses in three Western states, serving more than 492,000 customers. Avista’s primary, non-regulated subsidiary is Advantage IQ. 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.
This news release contains forward-looking statements regarding the company’s current expectations. Forward-looking statements are all statements other than historical facts. Such statements speak only as of the date of the news release and are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond the company’s control, which could cause actual results to differ materially from the expectations. These risks and uncertainties include, in addition to those discussed herein, all of the factors discussed in the company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2008, and the Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2009
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