Avista crews make significant progress in restoring power to customers affected by Labor Day storm

September 8, 2020

Spokane, Wash. Sept. 8, 2020, 8:00 p.m.:  Avista crews made great progress today and have restored power to nearly 85 percent of customers affected by the Labor Day wind storm that affected more than 36,000 customers at its peak on Monday, Sept. 7. 

As of 7 p.m. Tuesday, approximately 4,400 customers remain without power. 

“Each customer has a face and a name, and our crews will continue to safely and diligently work to restore power to all who are affected by Monday’s storm,” Dennis Vermillion, Avista president and CEO said. “We know how important power is to our customers’ lives, and our crews are dedicated to making sure power is safely restored to all customers who’ve been affected. We want to thank our customers for their continued patience as we continue to work day and night to restore power.” 

Safety is paramount as Avista continues to work in rural and hard-hit areas near Inchelium, Spangle, and Colville, Washington, and Hope and Sandpoint, Idaho. After today’s assessments, it is anticipated that the majority of customers located in the Spangle and Sandpoint areas will be restored by late Wednesday evening. For customers located near the Colville and Inchelium areas, we anticipate the majority of customers to have power by late Thursday. Estimated restoration times for specific areas will continue to be updated on the outage map. Customers who live or work in areas that are affected by wildfires may continue to experience delays in service restoration. 

Restoration process – Each storm is unique
This particular storm did the most damage to transmission and distribution lines, with the damage primarily caused by trees coming into contact with and bringing down wires. Because of the dry weather conditions, and challenging terrain, restoration is taking longer in some cases as crews cautiously and physically patrol the lines before re-energizing. In normal weather operations, these lines would automatically re-energize when experiencing a fault. In some locations, crews are also navigating areas currently impacted by wildfire, which can affect the restoration time.

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What customers can do
To stay up-to-date on outage status, customers can download the Avista Outage App at the App Store or Google Play. Outage updates can also be received through Text Alerts. Simply text ‘REG’ to AVISTA (284782).

Those customers who remain without power can aid in the restoration process by checking their service equipment for needed repairs. All of these repairs need to be made by a licensed electrician before we can safely restore power to the home. Customers should look for the following:

•    An overhead mast that is bent and pulled away from the house, causing a wire to hang.
•    A bent mast broke the fitting where the wire connects to your electric meter.
•    A broken meter fitting caused an arc or burned meter socket.

If customers have received information that power has been restored in their area and their lights are still out, please contact Avista at (800) 227-9187.

Safety during an outage
Safety remains a top priority and we want our customers to stay safe. Trees in lines and lines on the ground may still be an issue. Customers should treat all power lines as if they are energized. Customers should stay away from any downed power lines, not attempt to remove limbs from downed or sagging power lines, and should not drive over power lines. If customers see a downed power line, they should call Avista at (800) 227-9187 immediately to report its location.

Avista suggests customers take the following steps during an outage:
•    Turn off all the appliances that were on before the power went out.
•    Unplug electronic equipment, including computers.
•    Leave a light or radio on as an alert when power has been restored. 
•    Help Avista crews working in a neighborhood know which homes have power by turning on the front porch light.
•    Do not wire an emergency generator into a home’s electrical system, unless there is a disconnect switch to separate generated power from Avista’s distribution system. Backfeed into power lines could injure or kill a lineman working to get electricity restored.
•    Use a generator only to run specific appliances and locate it outside so poisonous carbon monoxide fumes do not enter the home.

Information about current outages, outage FAQs and safety during an outage can be found at myavista.com/outage.

About Avista Utilities
Avista Utilities is involved in the production, transmission and distribution of energy. We provide energy services and electricity to 395,000 customers and natural gas to 364,000 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 1.6 million.  Avista Utilities is an operating division of Avista Corp. (NYSE: AVA). For more information, please visit www.myavista.com.

The Avista logo is a trademark of Avista Corporation.


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