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:
ADVERTISEMENT
Bookmark and Share

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>>

  • Ohio student arrested for viral Facebook “SHS” threat

    Ohio student arrested for viral Facebook “SHS” threat

    Thursday, February 22 2018 11:32 PM EST2018-02-23 04:32:55 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Many of you have reached out to KHQ, concerned after you saw a Facebook post that went viral on Wednesday, causing concern across the nation. The post was made under the Facebook profile “Ray Andres.” The person behind the post threatened to bring a gun to school and referred to the school as “SHS.” According to WHIO News, the FBI and Clark County Deputies were able to pinpoint the location of where the social 

    More >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Many of you have reached out to KHQ, concerned after you saw a Facebook post that went viral on Wednesday, causing concern across the nation. The post was made under the Facebook profile “Ray Andres.” The person behind the post threatened to bring a gun to school and referred to the school as “SHS.” According to WHIO News, the FBI and Clark County Deputies were able to pinpoint the location of where the social 

    More >>
  • Board fires Montana art teacher accused of hiding gun for student

    Board fires Montana art teacher accused of hiding gun for student

    Thursday, February 22 2018 10:59 PM EST2018-02-23 03:59:43 GMT

    HARDIN, Mont. (AP) - Montana school district officials have fired an art teacher accused of hiding a gun for one of her students. The Billings Gazette reports that the Hardin Public Schools Board on Wednesday unanimously voted to fire Nora Block, who taught at Hardin High School. Block has been charged with felony tampering with evidence and two misdemeanors. She is accused of hiding the gun in her classroom overnight, turning it over to authorities the next day.

    More >>

    HARDIN, Mont. (AP) - Montana school district officials have fired an art teacher accused of hiding a gun for one of her students. The Billings Gazette reports that the Hardin Public Schools Board on Wednesday unanimously voted to fire Nora Block, who taught at Hardin High School. Block has been charged with felony tampering with evidence and two misdemeanors. She is accused of hiding the gun in her classroom overnight, turning it over to authorities the next day.

    More >>
  • Pasco Police believe man arrested in Spokane could solve 32-year-old murder case

    Pasco Police believe man arrested in Spokane could solve 32-year-old murder case

    Thursday, February 22 2018 10:38 PM EST2018-02-23 03:38:15 GMT
    Photo of victim Robert McDonald from 1986, courtesy Pasco PolicePhoto of victim Robert McDonald from 1986, courtesy Pasco Police

    PASCO, Wash. - A 32-year-old murder case is about to close with an arrest. Pasco Police Detectives have gone to Spokane to interview the suspect, a 50-year-old former Pasco resident, Theodore Milam, about the presence of his DNA at a 1986 murder scene at the Pasco Boat Basin (Schlagel Park). The homicide victim, Robert James McDonald Jr of Richland, was 40 years old on Feb. 25, 1986, when visitors to the park saw a body floating 

    More >>

    PASCO, Wash. - A 32-year-old murder case is about to close with an arrest. Pasco Police Detectives have gone to Spokane to interview the suspect, a 50-year-old former Pasco resident, Theodore Milam, about the presence of his DNA at a 1986 murder scene at the Pasco Boat Basin (Schlagel Park). The homicide victim, Robert James McDonald Jr of Richland, was 40 years old on Feb. 25, 1986, when visitors to the park saw a body floating 

    More >>