Hello and welcome to another installment of Ask Avista, the only forum that lets Spokane area ratepayers get straight answers regarding their power company concerns.
OK. So let’s get energized.
Q: My God! Was I imagining things or did I hear it right, that the Avista Corp. profits rose 11 percent last year?
ASK AVISTA: Why, yes. That did make the news.
Q: And yet you keep asking for rate increases. How do you justify that?
ASK AVISTA: It’s a lot like playing the piano. If you practice long enough, you can get really good at it.
Q: So you’re saying that Avista’s really good at asking for rate increases because you keep asking for rate increases?
ASK AVISTA: We’re the Rachmaninoff of rate pimping.
Q: Good to have a goal, I guess. And how did the suits react to this windfall?
ASK AVISTA: With a nice party. And this very attractive sheet cake topped with a Reddy Kilowatt centerpiece.
ASK AVISTA: Oh, yeah. Reddy lit up like a red lightning bolt and everything.
Q: And all because you made bank at ratepayer expense?
ASK AVISTA: Of course not. What kind of insensitive bloodsuckers do you think we are?
Q: Better to not go down that pathway. So there was something else worth celebrating?
ASK AVISTA: Yes, indeed! The near-$4.5 million that Scott Morris – Avista CEO, president, chairman and Grand Generator – raked in last year.
Q: That’s outrageous!
ASK AVISTA: Not at all. The number is actually down from the $5.5 million he made in 2014, but up from the $3.6 million he made in 2015.
Q: What are you saying?
ASK AVISTA: He’s just another middle-income earner.
Q: Middle income? We huddled around the fireplace this winter because we could barely keep up our power payments. Whataya think of that?
ASK AVISTA: Your commitment to energy saving will be reflected on your next Energy Report Card.
Q: The last one I received graded me as a 92-percent power waster compared to my more energy-efficient neighbors. Who are those jerks, anyway?
ASK AVISTA: Look, as long as we’re being totally honest here. There aren’t any energy-efficient neighbors. We made ‘em up.
Q: I knew it! You probably fabricated those rate increases, didn’t you?
ASK AVISTA: Don’t be sacrilegious. But we do have a heart. Avista offers free emergency energy warming kits to any ratepayer in need.
Q: And how do you know who’s really in need?
ASK AVISTA: We look for the signs.
ASK AVISTA: Frostbite. Hyperthermia. Turning blue. You know, the usuals.
Q: And what comes in an emergency warming kit?
ASK AVISTA: Two hand warmers. A candle. And a U.S. Army pamphlet diagramming the correct way to perform squat thrusts.
Q: Squat thrusts?
ASK AVISTA: Oh, yes. Five minutes of squat thrusts will warm anybody right up.
Q: Getting back to rate increases. Just why keep asking for them when they’re so unpopular?
ASK AVISTA: According to Scott Morris in a recent news story, the “annual rate increases are needed so the utility can continue to provide reliable service for customers, while allowing for a fair return for its shareholders.”
Q: What does that even mean?
ASK AVISTA: I know. We don’t understand it, either.
Q: Can you at least explain why Morris makes so much dough?
ASK AVISTA: It’s all spelled out in the O.A.P.P.S.
Q: Now you’re talking crazy.
ASK AVISTA: The Official Avista Preliminary Proxy Statement, we mean.
ASK AVISTA: It clearly states that Morris’ income is based on an executive compensation combined with performance-based incentives, salary, pension and other stuff.
Q: Other stuff?
ASK AVISTA: Oh, another $1.87 million in potential future stock and million in incentive pay.
Q: Is that all?
ASK AVISTA: Plus $400 in Fred Meyer coupons, one Starbucks gift card, five free movie passes at the River Park Square cinemas and dinner for 152 at Olive Garden.
ASK AVISTA: Yacht polish for life.
Q: Wow. Being the Big Cheese at Avista is a pretty sweet deal, huh?
ASK AVISTA: Well, it’s not quite what Benjamin Franklin had in mind when he discovered electricity. But it sure beats patching potholes for the city.
Q: True dat.
ASK AVISTA : Double true dat!
<line4Pwide><QC>Contact the writer:<QC>(509) 459-5432<QC>firstname.lastname@example.org<QC>