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Clark: Avista ‘report card’ puts me in a class by myself

Doug Clark’s Avista bill indicates he used 67 percent more electricity than his neighbors last month and 85 percent more over the past 12 months. (Dan Pelle)
Doug Clark’s Avista bill indicates he used 67 percent more electricity than his neighbors last month and 85 percent more over the past 12 months. (Dan Pelle)

Well, they’ve done it again – those weasels at the Avista Corp., I mean.

If these meddlers aren’t raising our gas and electricity rates every other month, they’re sending everybody unwanted cases of poison-filled curlicue death-bulbs.

I have this theory about Avista.

Every six months or so, I believe all the power barons (aka Avaricestas) get together for a brainstorming session somewhere deep within the impacted bowels of their lucent lair of larceny.

I can see them harrumphing around this big conference table, each trying to out-scheme the other on who can come up with a new and improved way to …


Their latest prank showed up in the mail the other day in the form of a home energy report card, which showed me to be flunking big-time.

The statement featured three bars to represent the energy being used in my neighborhood.

The first bar was short and green.

This was for my responsible “Efficient Neighbors,” the ones who were really saving the planet by cutting back on the ol’ kilowatts.

Goody-goody for them.

The second bar was grayish and somewhat longer than the green bar. It was supposed to depict “All Neighbors,” who were trying but could do better.

Then came the third bar.

This bar was solid black. This bar was waaay longer than any of the other bars.

This bar represented the biggest energy-wasting warthog.

I probably don’t have to tell you who that is, huh?


The word bellowed from my report card in accusatory thick black letters. (An exclamation point, though absent, was certainly implied.)

I scored 1,300, which would have been pretty great on the SATs back in the day.

Unfortunately, my score stood for kilowatt-hours.

“You used 85-percent more electricity than your neighbors,” scolded the report card.

Aw, bite me.

Just staring at this made my ears steam, which probably wasted another 50 kilowatts of energy. I wanted to run through my house and turn on every bloody light in the place.

I didn’t do that because, well, that would be childish.

Plus, according to my stinking report card, I already have all the lights on.

And so what? If I want to pay an extra 740 bucks a year for my socket juice (according to my report card), whose beeswax is that besides mine?

By the way, have you checked out the zillions these Avista exec bandits rake in every year? They should be sending me a thank-you card, not a nasty report card.

I mean, what part of “The Customer is King” concept do these jerks not understand?

Every business knows the customer is king.

Department store clerks know it.

Fast-food counter kids know it.

Every East Sprague hooker knows it.

It’s the way things work in the world of buying and selling.

Take Fred Meyer, for example.

This little message thanking me for being a “loyal customer” appears on the swiper screen whenever I pay with my debit card.

If Avista had a swiper screen it would read …

“Drop dead, Clark, you planet killer.”

But here’s the thing.

Avista sells power. I’m one of the captive suckers who must buy it.

Now, if I’m in a restaurant and want another trough of ice cream, I just grunt at the waitress, “Mmmm, more.”

To which she will smile and say, “No problem,” which seems to be the inane expression du jour that every server parrots these days.

But not at the Avista Café.

Ask for seconds there and you’ll get …

“Haven’t you had enough, lard bottom?”

Life is fraught with enough challenges without having a guilt trip laid on you by the power company.

Even worse, my bad grades now have me looking over my shoulder and feeling really insecure.

Just who are these “Efficient Neighbors,” anyway?

What are they doing to get such good grades?

Are they churning their own butter? Are they huddling in the dark like mole people, cooking their meals over smoldering dried cow dung?

And, I’m not very pleased about all you middle-of-the-roaders, either.

Stop making me look bad. Crank up your stereos. Microwave some pizzas. Turn on some lights and party on.

Sheesh. This intrusive report card malarkey really has me overheated.

Think I’ll open the fridge and stand in front of it awhile to cool off.

Doug Clark can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or

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