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Doug Clark: A friendly hello from your new Canadian overlords

Greetings, Yankee ratepayers!

Welcome to our first installment of Ask Hydro One, formerly known as Ask Avista.

By any name, this is still the only forum that gives Spokane-area ratepayers the Real Truth regarding their power company concerns.

We here at Hydro One realize the shock wave you must have felt when the news broke last week of the impending sale of Avista to a Canadian megafirm.

So, feel free to ask whatever is on your minds.

Q: Are the news reports right, that you paid a royal bundle for Avista?

HYDRO ONE: Indeed. We shelled out $5.3 billion along with a special incentive.

Q: Special incentive?

HYDRO ONE: Backstage VIP passes at the next Gordon Lightfoot concert.

Q: The legend lives on! Only a tone-deaf fool would refuse that deal.

HYDRO ONE: We hear you.

Q: So what changes can we ratepayers expect from a Canadian company?

HYDRO ONE: Well, remember those announcements you got from Avista practically every month?

Q: The ones about power rates rising again?

HYDRO ONE: Exactly. The announcements we’ll be making every month will be quite different.

Q: As in?

HYDRO ONE: “Power Rates Rising Again, Eh?”

Q: That does sound much more polite.

HYDRO ONE: Polite is the Canadian way.

Q: Any other changes?

HYDRO ONE: Yes. Under our management, your monthly energy bill will look quite different.

Q: How so?

HYDRO ONE: They’ll all be calculated in the metric system.

Q: Americans hate the metric system. Won’t this confuse a lot of ratepayers?

HYDRO ONE: And your point is, eh?

Q: You guys are really the same old sharks, aren’t you?

HYDRO ONE: And what part of “We’re another greedy power company” don’t you get?

Q: Speaking of which, is it safe to say that Avista Chairman and CEO Scott “Warbucks” Morris will come out OK?

HYDRO ONE: Oh, yes. He’s getting what we call the Maple Leaf Parachute.

Q: Which is?

HYDRO ONE: Gets to keep his fat cat job. His stock holdings could swell to $10 million. Plus we toss in a vintage Red Wings jersey signed by none other than Canadian hockey legend Gordie “Mr. Hockey” Howe.

Q: It pays to be a power czar, doesn’t it?

HYDRO ONE: True dat, eh?

Q: A lot of baseball fans down here are worried about how this change might affect the Spokane Indians. Are you planning to rebrand Avista Stadium as Hydro One Stadium?

HYDRO ONE: Heavens no! Even we think that would be a lousy name for a ballpark.

Q: Well, that’s a relief.

HYDRO ONE: Absolutely. Instead we’ve subcontracted with one of Canada’s oldest and most revered companies to replace the stadium name.

Q: And that company is?

HYDRO ONE: What else but Labatt Beer, of course.

Q: You’re going to name our beloved ballfield after a Canadian beer?

HYDRO ONE: The Spokane Indians Labatting Cage. Whataya think?

Q: It does have a certain ring to it. And I suppose you’re going to start every ballgame with …

HYDRO ONE: “Oh, Canadaaah! Our home and native laaaand.”

Q: We Americans won’t stand for that, you know.

HYDRO ONE: Maybe. But we’ll also be serving Labatt brewskis in special imperial gallon sippy cups.

Q: Sold! Any other great ideas?

HYDRO ONE: Otto, the Spokane Indians’ blue furry mascot, will be replaced by LaBlotto, a lovable flannel-clad and quite-soused Quebecker.

Q: Kids’ll certainly love that.

HYDRO ONE: Kids are our most precious resource.

Q: The hope for the future?

HYDRO ONE: The ratepayers of the future.

Q: So with all these changes, I assume it’ll be OK for American customers to start paying their energy bills with Canadian money?

HYDRO ONE: Not on your loonie or your toonie, pal. Have you seen the exchange rate lately? Not even Canadians will take Canadian dough.

Q: Well, I guess the only thing left to say is:

“Oh, Canadaaah! Our home and native laaaand.”

HYDRO ONE: You’ve got the spirit now, eh?

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