Avista thanks customers for patience during worst outage since 1 - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Avista thanks customers for patience during worst outage since 1996 ice storm

Posted: Updated:

SPOKANE, Wash. - Avista is extending a heartfelt thank you to customers for their patience during restoration efforts in the wake of the worst storm damage to its electric system since Ice Storm in 1996. Over a four-day period, Avista crews from throughout the region, along with contract crews, worked around-the-clock to restore power to nearly 40,000 customers who lost electricity.

Now that electricity has been restored to all its customers, Avista is getting a clearer picture of the extent of the devastation. Preliminary numbers show that more than 120 poles had to be replaced to rebuild the backbone of the transmission and distribution system after high winds toppled trees onto power lines and snapped power poles Wednesday afternoon. That’s a significant increase from the 60 poles that were initially identified immediately after the storm.

“I’m proud of the dedication and commitment of our employees who always rise to the challenge during any outage situation. Over the past several days they worked tirelessly on behalf of our customers. We’re also grateful for the assistance we received from the five contractors who provided additional manpower to help speed up our recovery and restoration efforts,” said Avista Utilities President Dennis Vermillion.

Beyond the electric crews who were on the front lines replacing poles, restringing wire and rebuilding the electric system, there were countless employees working behind the scenes providing support to those in the field:

  • Dispatchers worked around the clock to prioritize work and dispatch crews to areas of highest need. They managed more than 13,700 outage reports from customers that were rolled up into jobs and prioritized.
  • Because each outage situation was different, two-person “advance teams” went on location to assess damage and determine in advance what materials were needed for each job. This meant crews arrived onsite with the right equipment and materials, saving time and working efficiently.
  • Supply Chain and Warehouse employees worked around the clock to provide materials needed for repairs. Preliminary numbers show:
    • In Spokane alone, at least 86 wood distribution poles were replaced.
    • 40 transmission poles were issued across Avista’s service territory.
    • Crews used more than 13,000 feet of conductor wire to replace downed power lines.
  • General Foremen and Operations Managers orchestrated how to allocate Avista and contract crews, redeploy resources as they completed work and made sure employees were taking rest periods to work safely.
    • It was difficult to find lodging for contract and out-of-town crews because two international conventions were underway and every hotel/motel room was booked within 60 miles of Spokane. At times, Avista used buses to shuttle crews back and forth from Spokane to Pullman to sleep.
  • Call Center Representatives worked around the clock answering thousands of customer calls, taking outage reports and providing information to customers about expected restoration times.
  • External and Internal Communications kept the information flowing to customers, the media and employees, providing timely and relevant updates.

“It’s an incredible logistical challenge. As we begin to tally the numbers of people and amounts of material needed to make repairs and get power flowing back to our customers as quickly and safely as possible, one thing is clear -- it is a monumental achievement,” said Vice President of Energy Delivery Don Kopczynski.

“I heard that as electricity was restored to the last group of customers in the Inchelium area near Colville, neighbors stood in the street cheering,” added Kopczynski. “That kind of appreciation is why Avista’s employees work around the clock to keep the lights on for our customers.”

HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • Off-duty corrections officer rescues woman from burning car

    Off-duty corrections officer rescues woman from burning car

    Tuesday, June 19 2018 12:34 AM EDT2018-06-19 04:34:31 GMT

    NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) - Authorities say an off-duty corrections officer pulled an unconscious driver from a burning car following a crash. South Brunswick police say the accident occurred around 9:15 p.m. Sunday in the area of Routes 32 and 535, when a car driven by 59-year-old Catherine Bohar, of Monroe, struck the rear of a tractor trailer.

    More >>

    NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) - Authorities say an off-duty corrections officer pulled an unconscious driver from a burning car following a crash. South Brunswick police say the accident occurred around 9:15 p.m. Sunday in the area of Routes 32 and 535, when a car driven by 59-year-old Catherine Bohar, of Monroe, struck the rear of a tractor trailer.

    More >>
  • Houston officer buys groceries for man whose food was stolen during a medical emergency

    Houston officer buys groceries for man whose food was stolen during a medical emergency

    Tuesday, June 19 2018 12:08 AM EDT2018-06-19 04:08:42 GMT

    HOUSTON - A Houston police officer went above and beyond the call of duty after a surprising crime last week. Officer Kirsten Koryciak with the Houston Police Department was off-duty, but patrolling a local Walmart store. A man bought groceries at the store, then suffered a diabetic episode and collapsed in the parking lot.

    More >>

    HOUSTON - A Houston police officer went above and beyond the call of duty after a surprising crime last week. Officer Kirsten Koryciak with the Houston Police Department was off-duty, but patrolling a local Walmart store. A man bought groceries at the store, then suffered a diabetic episode and collapsed in the parking lot.

    More >>
  • Spokane County deputy stops suicidal man from attempted drowning

    Spokane County deputy stops suicidal man from attempted drowning

    Tuesday, June 19 2018 12:07 AM EDT2018-06-19 04:07:24 GMT
    Deputy Ouimette at his swearing in in April 2018Deputy Ouimette at his swearing in in April 2018

    MEDICAL LAKE, Wash. - Just after 1 a.m. Monday, several Spokane County Sheriff's deputies responded a call of a possible suicidal man. Deputies spoke with family members at their home, where they found a "goodbye" letter, but could not locate the young man. During the call, additional information was received mentioning a possible method of drowning.

    More >>

    MEDICAL LAKE, Wash. - Just after 1 a.m. Monday, several Spokane County Sheriff's deputies responded a call of a possible suicidal man. Deputies spoke with family members at their home, where they found a "goodbye" letter, but could not locate the young man. During the call, additional information was received mentioning a possible method of drowning.

    More >>