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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Agencies object to Avista hikes

Two Washington state agencies on Monday filed strong objections to a requested 18.5 percent electricity rate hike by Spokane’s Avista Utilities. The staffs of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission and the attorney general’s Public Counsel Section filed written testimony opposing the increase. Both agencies also oppose Avista’s proposed 2.4 percent rate hike for natural gas customers.

Broken transmission tower causes outage

A broken electrical transmission tower was blamed for a loss of power this morning to 6,600 Avista Utilities customers in north central Spokane.

Panel trims Avista request

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission staff is recommending that Avista Utilities take a smaller rate increase than the Spokane company is requesting. Avista is asking for an average net increase of 7.8 percent in electricity rates and an average 3 percent increase in gas rates for its Idaho customers. Avista made the request in January.

Rural residents spar with Avista

Ben Simpson enjoys an unobstructed view of the Spokane River from his living room window, with the added bonus of watching ospreys dive feet-first to snatch fish from the river. Adding 75-foot power poles to the view isn’t his idea of progress.

Spokane Falls will flow full time

Water will cascade over the Spokane River’s waterfalls even during the hottest and driest of summers. Avista Utilities and the Sierra Club have worked out an agreement for year-round flows. Even after sunset, when most of the tourists have left Riverfront Park, water will spill over a series of descending basalt columns.

Avista’s quarterly earnings up 23 percent

Avista Corp. reported improved first quarter earnings, citing revenue growth from higher electric and natural gas rates, as well as growth in the number of customers the utility serves.

Woman will fight the power behind the bills

A Spokane woman is organizing a peaceful protest outside of Avista Corp.’s headquarters on Saturday to draw attention to families’ struggles to pay their power bills. Jenna Cassidy said she was stunned when she opened her January bill and saw the $163 total – a jump of $70 from the December bill.

Avista trims request for gas rate increase

In a day filled with dire economic news, Avista Corp. delivered a bit of cheer to its natural gas customers Monday afternoon. Gas bills won’t go up by 20 percent, as previously anticipated. Instead, the utility asked for a 1 percent increase for its Washington customers in Monday’s filings with the state Utilities and Transportation Commission. In Idaho, Avista trimmed its request to 4 percent from 14 percent.

BPA’s wind power tops 1,000 megawatts

The Bonneville Power Administration periodically delivered more than 1,000 megawatts of wind energy to the storm-tossed Northwest in November and December, spokesman Doug Johnson said Friday. At its peak, on Dec. 23 and 24, the agency's grid transmitted 1,180 megawatts, an amount exceeding the generating capacity of Bonneville Dam and more than enough to meet the electricity needs of a Seattle-sized city, he said.

Thunderstorms knock out power

Friday night's thunderstorm left thousands of Inland Northwest households in the dark, and many customers might not have power back until midnight tonight. "The problem is it's a holiday weekend, so crews are scarce," Avista Utilities spokesman Hugh Imhof said. "But we're getting as many people out there as we can."

Avista fixes leak in area of dying trees

Avista Utilities has repaired a natural gas leak at an intersection in Spokane Valley's Ponderosa neighborhood where nearly all the ponderosa pine trees are dead or dying. It's unclear whether natural gas, which continued to permeate the soil late last week at the intersection of 43rd Avenue and Hollow Street, killed the trees. The forestry program manager for the Spokane County Conservation District found evidence of bark beetle infestation in some dead trees that had been cut into logs and stacked in a yard.

Discs are ready to fly

The first Blu-ray discs could come off the line at a new downtown Spokane plant in two or three weeks, BlueRay Technologies Inc. executives said Tuesday. Several large machines, which will print and label high-definition Blu-ray discs, occupy part of a basement clean room under construction by the Valencia, Calif.-based company at the Commercial Building, 1119 W. First Ave. The equipment will be capable of churning out as many as 14,000 of the next-generation video discs a day, said James Schumacher, vice president of operations.