May 19, 2011 in City

Clark: A jovial spin on Avista’s request for rate hikes

By The Spokesman-Review
 
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Hi everybody. It’s me – Dougie Kilowatt.

Avista Utilities has hired me to be its new power company mascot.

I know. I’m just as shocked (har!) as you are.

But there’s a lot of ratepayer grumbling out there. It all comes from Avista’s recent request to gouge us even more for our electricity and natural gas.

To head off the turmoil, Avista wanted a jovial and trustworthy spokesman to answer your questions about the proposed increases.

So let the discourse begin!

Q – How’d you get the job?

D. Kilowatt – Well, in all candor I wasn’t the company’s first choice.

Q – Oh?

D. Kilowatt – Yes. Avista really wanted someone who fit in more with its way of doing business. Unfortunately, Bernie Madoff couldn’t get a prison work release.

Q – So they called you?

D. Kilowatt – Actually they then called Arnold Schwarzenegger. He was all set to be Arnie Kilowatt until everybody found out about him fathering a kid with one of his housemaids.

Q – That was pretty awful, huh?

D. Kilowatt – Oh, I don’t know. He is The Sperminator, after all.

Q – I think we’d better get back to Avista.

D. Kilowatt – I’m here to help.

Q – OK. With the economy in a mess and so many people hurting, isn’t this the worst timing to go asking for a 9.3 percent raise on electricity and a 5.1 percent hike for natural gas?

D. Kilowatt – Ratepayers need to stop being so selfish. They need to realize that this isn’t about them. This is about the soaring price of gold.

Q – Gold? What are you talking about?

D. Kilowatt – Gold cufflinks, gold Rolexes, gold-plated toilet seats …

Q – Corporate assets?

D. Kilowatt – That’s one way to put it. Avista executives have luxurious sensibilities and, hey, the money’s gotta come from somewhere.

Q – No wonder so many people hate the power company.

D. Kilowatt – They don’t call us Avarice-sta for nothing.

Q – But what about all those poor folks who can’t afford to pay more?

D. Kilowatt – As a matter of fact, we just launched a special self-help program for our NGDBs.

Q – NGDBs?

D. Kilowatt – No Good Deadbeats.

Q – Ah. So what’s the program?

D. Kilowatt – Well, anyone needing help will receive a free copy of our new instructional pamphlet, “Clap your Hands and Stamp your Feet!”

Q – Does it tell you how to reduce your Avista bill?

D. Kilowatt – Whoa, what have you been smoking?

Q – So why Clap your Hands and Stamp your Feet?

D. Kilowatt – It’ll help keep you warm when we cut off your heat.

Q – That’s cold.

D. Kilowatt – Not really. You can wad up the pamphlet and burn it, too.

Q – According to a published news account, Avista will spend $250 million on fixing up old power lines, substations and other stuff. Is this what these rate increases are about?

D. Kilowatt – Oh, yeah. Power lines. Substations. You bet. That’s the ticket. Absolutely.

Q – You know, I’m shocked that a cynic like you would start shilling for Avista. What made you do it?

D. Kilowatt – They had me at gold-plated toilet seat.

Doug Clark can be reached at (509) 459-5432 ordougc@spokesman.com.

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