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Avista crews performing natural gas safety shut-off in Palouse and Lewiston/Clarkston Valley region in preparation for relighting process

SPOKANE, Wash. Nov. 9, 2023: Avista crews continue to go home-to-home, around the clock, to manually shut-off natural gas meters as a result of damage that occurred yesterday to the Williams Pipeline, which provides wholesale natural gas transportation services to Avista. This is a required step to prepare the system before relighting can take place. To assist Avista crews in this process, home and business owners are encouraged to make sure any gates leading to natural gas meters are unlocked and obstacles are removed.

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Williams Pipeline crews are currently working on repairs to their natural gas pipeline that was damaged by a third-party yesterday afternoon between the cities of Pullman and Colfax, which resulted in natural gas outages for Avista customers in the areas of Pullman, Moscow, Albion, Palouse, Uniontown, Colton, Genesee, Troy, Bovill, Deary, Asotin, Lewiston and Clarkston.

 

The damaged gas pipeline is owned by Williams Pipeline and transports natural gas to Avista’s system. Williams Pipeline is estimating that repairs will be done by late today, Thursday, November 9.

 

As long as the pipeline repair is completed today, Avista anticipates being able to start the relight of natural gas appliances on Friday. Once the relight process starts, the complete natural gas restoration for Avista customers is estimated to be three to five days.

 

“This is our top priority at Avista. All available Avista crews and a significant number of contractors and partner utilities are being mobilized to restore natural gas services as quickly and safely as possible,” said Dennis Vermillion, Avista CEO. “We will provide more updates as the process continues. We know this incident has caused hardship for our customers. We are grateful for everyone’s patience and please know we are working around-the-clock to restore services.”

 

The impact of this incident has affected an estimated 37,000 customers. This is the largest natural gas outage in Avista’s history. The restoration process involves many steps that will take time to ensure the safety of our customers and our employees.

 

Restoration Process:

 

  • Avista crews move from property to property to shut off the natural gas meter (or ensure it is off). Customers do not need to be present for this process.
  • Crews will then safely prepare the system for relights, which entails re-pressurizing the natural gas distribution system. Following repressuring, the natural gas appliance relight process is initiated.
  • The relight process involves a service person knocking on a door and entering the property when a resident is home. An adult will need to be present to let the service person inside. Please do not 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.

 

While it is not necessary, homeowners and business owners who are comfortable turning their own valves off at the meter can do so by following these instructions:

  • Locate the shut-off valve on the pipe near the gas meter.
  • Then, use a large wrench to give the valve a quarter turn in either direction.
  • When the valve runs crossways to the pipe, the line is closed.

A short video explaining the process can be viewed here: https://www.myavista.com/outages/wp-updates

Once the gas has been shut off, do not turn it back on. Only Avista can turn it back on. After gas is shut off to the home or business, no other actions are required for specific appliances.

 

Safety Reminder:

 

Avista reminds customers to never use an outdoor grill or other items not intended for indoor use for heating or cooking indoors, as the fumes are toxic.

 

As this process continues to progress, Avista will provide additional information to customers and the public as more information becomes available. 

 

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.

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