SPOKANE – As of this Sunday afternoon, Avista has restored natural gas service to an estimated 15,000 customers who experienced outages stemming from the damage that occurred on the Williams Pipeline between the cities of Pullman and Colfax.
Each of the teams are currently averaging more than 5 relights an hour, and the number of total relights per hour throughout the region is regularly reaching peaks of around 900 relights per hour.
Avista has developed restoration maps for each region that include zones that indicate the order of restoration, and a window of time teams are expected to be in each zone. Avista estimates a time frame of one to two days per zone to complete the relight process. Relight sequencing times are based on the geographic location of the infrastructure and critical customers. Additional information about the estimated restoration times identified by area can be accessed, by visiting https://www.myavista.com/outages/wp-updates.
Over 300 mutual aid partners from across the western United States and currently around 60 private and local HVAC contractors have been onboarded and deployed to continue the restoration efforts. Including Avista personnel, over 800 individuals are responding to restoration services during this historic event.
At this point, Avista is still expecting to have natural gas services fully restored to each zone by the end of the day on Tuesday. For any customers who could not be present for the initial relight process, Avista will continue to be available throughout the week.
Avista will continue to work into next week to relight natural gas appliances between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.
Important scam notice:
Avista has received reports of scams from customers throughout the affected service territory. The latest example involves a GoFundMe account soliciting funds allegedly aimed to “establish a fund to help [Avista] workers facing unexpected financial challenges.” This is not an Avista-authorized account or effort.
Unfortunately, in emergency situations like this incident, scammers will typically move quickly, looking to trick as many people as possible into complying with their demands or falling victim to their fraudulent programs.
Customers should be on alert and continue to report suspicious requests or interactions with anyone who may be impersonating the company. Additionally, customers should not grant a suspicious person or suspected scammer access to their homes.
About the relight process:
Customers will receive notification within 24 hours of their planned relight that crews are headed to their zone.
The relight process involves a service person knocking on a door and entering the property when a resident or business owner is present. An adult will need to be present to let the service person inside. Customers are asked not to leave doors to homes unlocked. All field personnel conducting relights will have identification.
Once relit, Avista will check the appliances in the residence. If the resident is not home, Avista will leave a card on the door upon the last attempt for the day, inviting the customer to call Avista so someone can come back to relight.
Customers do not need to schedule their own relights. There is no cost to customers for relights or gas restoration activity.
In rare situations, Avista may find appliance repairs that are needed before proceeding with a relight. In these circumstances, customers may need to work with a licensed dealer to complete the repair. Avista can return to do a safety check.
Important Safety Note:
Never use an outdoor grill or other items not intended for indoor use for heating or cooking indoors, as the fumes are toxic.
Do not attempt to turn your valve back on at the meter. Only Avista crews can turn it back on and go through the relighting process.
About Avista Utilities
Avista Utilities is involved in the production, transmission and distribution of energy. We provide energy services and electricity to 408,000 customers and natural gas to 375,000 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 1.7 million. Avista Utilities is an operating division of Avista Corp. (NYSE: AVA). For more information, please visit www.myavista.com.