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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Palouse outage: Avista on track to restore gas to all customers by Tuesday night

Crews continue work on Friday at the site of the Williams Pipeline rupture along Highway 195 about 5 miles northwest of Pullman.  (James Hanlon/The Spokesman-Review)

Avista had restored natural gas to more than 26,000 customers as of Monday afternoon and remains on track to restore service to all customers affected by the Williams Pipeline outage by the end of Tuesday.

After Tuesday, crews will follow up with customers who were not home the first time, said Avista spokesman Jared Webley.

“We won’t leave the area until we are done,” Webley said.

The relighting process has gone smoothly, he said.

The cities of Moscow, Idaho, and Pullman reopened their offices and facilities Monday as their gas came back on, and classes resumed at the University of Idaho and in Moscow and Pullman school districts.

A landowner trying to install a drainage pipe broke a hole in the Williams Pipeline on Wednesday along U.S. Highway 195 between Pullman and Colfax, according to the Washington state Utilities and Transportation Commission.

Avista contracts with Williams to use the pipeline. The leak led to the largest natural gas outage in Avista’s history, with nearly 37,000 customers affected in the Palouse region on the Washington-Idaho border.

Many businesses and residences were without heat and unable to use gas appliances. To restore service, Avista has to shut off the gas at each address, repressurize the system and then relight the gas for each customer while they are home – a process it knew would take several days to complete.

“I want to thank our customers for their patience as we continue to make progress in restoring natural gas as quickly and safely as possible,” Avista president and chief operations officer Heather Rosentrater said in a statement. “We know this process is time consuming and challenging for customers.”

Avista has developed maps for each region that include zones that indicate the order of restoration, and a window of time teams are expected to be in each zone. Additional information about the estimated restoration times identified by area can be accessed by visiting

James Hanlon's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is funded in part by Report for America and by members of the Spokane community. This story can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact our newspaper’s managing editor.