The company and community rallied together to restore service during unprecedented event
Spokane, Wash. Nov. 16, 2023: It took less than a week of restoration efforts by over 800 Avista employees, over 300 mutual aid workers from 8 utilities spanning 8 states, and over 60 HVAC contract employees working extended shifts to restore service to customers impacted by last week’s natural gas outage.
On Nov. 8, a natural gas transmission pipeline owned and operated by Williams Pipeline near Pullman was damaged by a third party. Avista contracts with Williams to provide wholesale natural gas transportation across this pipeline for service to customers in the Palouse and Lewiston/Clarkston Valley regions. After the incident, Avista saw a loss of pressure to its system, resulting in outages to approximately 36,000 customers.
All customers then needed to be manually shut off at the meter, which took an estimated 3,000 work hours. Immediately following the incident, the Williams Pipeline crew worked diligently to repair the pipeline. Without their dedication, the process for restoration would have taken much longer. After the pipeline was repaired late on Nov. 9, the system was readied for relight by purging and repressurizing the gas system. Finally, teams went to each home and business to turn service back on and relight natural gas appliances, averaging 4-5 relights per hour.
By 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 14, services were restored to approximately 33,000 customers in all service zones in the Palouse and Lewiston/Clarkston Valley. Currently, there are a few hundred relights remaining for customers who have not been available during initial attempts to relight.
Avista urges residents and businesses who were not home during initial attempts for relight to call 1-800-227-9187 at their earliest convenience to relight.
Reflecting upon what unfolded to be an unprecedented event President and Chief Operating Officer, Heather Rosentrater offered, “Our heartfelt gratitude goes out for the unwavering patience and support shown by our valued customers. We understand the immense difficulties, stress, and frustration endured while waiting for relights and the restoration of natural gas service. The remarkable compassion and generosity displayed by these incredible communities have left a profound impact on all of us involved. The uplifting words of encouragement and thoughtful gestures, like offering coffee, snacks, and encouraging notes, provided our dedicated crews with the strength and motivation that helped us persevere during this challenging response effort.”
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 area 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.