High Winds, Some Power Outages Expected Monday Night

Feb 22, 2021
Courtesy of the National Weather Service

Some residents across the greater Spokane region could lose power late this afternoon and tonight as strong winds hit the area.

The National Weather Service issued an advisory Monday warning winds could be around 20 to 30 miles per hour with gusts as high as 50 miles per an hour. The warning is in effect for the area ranging from Spokane to Moses Lake and South to Walla Walla.

Work Resumes To Restore Power To Thousands

Jan 13, 2021
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Crews from the region's utilities are back at it this morning [Thursday], working to restore power to tens of thousands of homes and businesses in eastern Washington and northern Idaho.

Avista says Wednesday’s windstorm caused at least 1,600 outages in its service territory, knocking out electricity to about 70,000 customers. As of this morning, the utility says more than 45,000 are still not connected.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Utility crews around the Inland Northwest worked overnight to restore power to tens of thousands of customers after heavy snow fell around the region.

More than 5,000 Avista customers remained without electricity on Saturday morning in the Spokane area, other parts of northeastern Washington and northern Idaho. Inland Power reported about 1,000 homes without power, mostly in Spokane County. Northern Lights was working only a handful of outages affecting a few dozen customers.

Groundbreaking New Building Opens Near Downtown Spokane

Sep 17, 2020
Courtesy of Katerra

 The partners involved in creating the new Catalyst building just east of downtown Spokane celebrated a virtual grand opening ceremony today [Thursday].

The building will anchor what is now called the South Landing Eco-District neighborhood, near the southern terminus of the Gateway Bridge in the University District. It will soon house several Eastern Washington University programs.


The wildfire season is relatively quiet right in the Inland Northwest. Crews over the weekend announced they had fully contained three fires in eastern. A handful of fires started last week when conditions were optimum for new fire starts, but crews were able to get on them quickly.

Still, things could erupt at any time and, as a result, Avista says it has recently made some seasonal changes to reduce the chance its power system causes fires.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Avista is looking for new renewable energy projects to add to its portfolio.

It will be one of the utilities in Washington required, by the year 2045, to create electricity using only sources considered to be “green.”

Steve Jackson photo.

Avista has been adjusting its dam operations on the Spokane River to accommodate the seasonal flow this spring. It's one part optimizing power generation, and one part fine tuning the water level.

P.primo at English Wikipedia

The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission has reached a partial settlement with Avista for a rate increase in gas and electricity rates.

The settlement also deals with the company’s plans to phase out coal-generated power for its Washington customers.

Photo by Leona Vander Molen

Mayoral candidate Nadine Woodward says she opposes the city of Spokane’s renewable energy goal .

Avista Utilties supported the city on the goal of getting 100% of its electricity from renewable resources by the year 2030.

But Woodward told SPR that, in an unpublished study, Avista found that such a plan would be expensive for citizens.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

A Washington state commission says Avista is on its way to meeting its renewable energy goals for the year, as required by state law.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

With summer now officially here, Avista and the Spokane County sheriff’s office are reminding people to be careful on the water this summer.

Deputy Jim Ebel coordinates the marine enforcement division for the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office. He says local ordinances require people who use the Spokane River  to wear life jackets. But he says only about half do.


Today on the Inland Journal podcast, we talk with retiring Avista CEO Scott Morris. In October, Morris will hand over the top job in the company to Avista President Dennis Vermillion and become the non-executive chairman of Avista’s board until next March. Then he’ll leave the company.

Scott Morris To Retire As Avista CEO

May 13, 2019

Scott Morris, Avista’s chief executive officer, is retiring from the company, effective next spring. He will be replaced as CEO on October 1 by Avista’s president, Dennis Vermillion.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

The Washington Senate has approved a bill that its supporters call the 100% clean electricity bill.

The 29-to-20 vote on Monday includes changes made to the bill by the House of Representatives.

It would require utilities to eliminate coal from their electrical generating portfolios by 2025. It also sets 2045 as the deadline by which all of their generation must use non-carbon emitting and renewable resources.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Thursday on the Inland Journal podcast, Avista announces it will begin installing new ‘smart meters’ that will allow it to more quickly measure how its customers use energy. “Ask an Evangelical”: we talk with a man who identifies as evangelical about his views on immigration. And will this late blast of snow extend the ski season in the Inland Northwest? We’ll get the view from the Lookout Pass ski area.

Avista To Begin Installing 'Smart Meters' Next Week

Feb 27, 2019
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Avista says it will begin installing new gas and electric meters at homes and businesses throughout its service area next week.

Heather Rosentrater, the vice president for energy delivery at Avista, says the so-called “smart meters” will allow the utility to more quickly and accurately measure how its customers use energy.

Inland Journal, February 22, 2019 Podcast: Climate Change

Feb 22, 2019
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Today on the Inland Journal podcast, environmental groups are asking the Washington legislature to adopt firm timelines to wean the state from fossil fuels. We’ll get two views: from a member of the 350 Spokane group, which is lobbying for the  bill, and a lobbyist for Avista. And we’ll meet a Maryland researcher who has created a map that projects what local climates like ours will be like in 2080.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Thursday on the Inland Journal podcast, we’ll look at electric cars and how Northwest utilities and states are progressing in creating public infrastructure to charge them. We’ll talk with a Kettle Falls man about his experience leasing an electric car. We’ll talk with a representative from Avista about incentives for businesses and others to create charging stations. And we’ll hear excerpts from an Idaho legislative hearing about electric vehicles.

Avista, Hydro One Call Off Merger

Jan 23, 2019

Avista and Hydro One have announced they’re terminating their agreement to merge. This comes after a series of regulatory rulings that went against the proposed acquisition.

Carbon Emissions Bill Gets Washington Senate Hearing

Jan 17, 2019
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Climate change and ways to combat it were in the spotlight of a Washington state Senate hearing today [Thursday]. People from a wide variety of interest groups testified on a bill that sets timetables for moving the state to so-called “clean energy” sources. Governor Jay Inslee requested the bill and 17 Democrats have co-sponsored it.


Washington utility regulators have dealt another blow to Avista’s proposed merger with Hydro One, the Canadian electrical transmission and distribution utility.

The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission issued a statement Tuesday morning that said it would take no action on the two companies’ request that the agency reconsider its earlier ruling.

Idaho Commission Rejects Avista-Hydro One Merger

Jan 3, 2019

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission has denied a request by Avista to be acquired by the Canadian transmission company Hydro One.

The order released today [Thursday] comes a month after Washington’s Utilities and Transportation Commission ruled against the acquisition.

Washington Utility Regulators Deny Hydro One Acquisition of Avista

Dec 5, 2018

UPDATED with a comment from Avista.

Washington utility regulators say the Canadian utility Hydro One may not acquire the Spokane-based utility Avista. In a statement issued Wednesday afternoon, the Utilities and Transportation Commission said "the proposed merger does not serve the public interest."

Avista Latest Shea Donor To Request Its Money Back

Nov 2, 2018

Avista has become the latest donor to Rep. Matt Shea’s (R-Spokane Valley) campaign to ask for its money back. This is in response to a document named “Biblical Basis for War,” released by Shea.


(UPDATED: Since we first aired this story, we were contacted by two other campaign donors mentioned in the story. Robin Dale of the Washington Health Care Association said, "Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. It certainly is concerning. We will continue to monitor your story as it develops."


Washington state regulators spent more than four hours Tuesday asking questions to officials from Avista Utilities about their proposed merger with the Ontario-based company Hydro One.

Utilities and Transportation Commission members have concerns with how the Spokane utility might be affected by moves made by the provincial government of Ontario.

The concerns stemmed from a shakeup earlier this year in Hydro One's board of directors, which came after voters elected a premier who promised to lower electric rates and cut executive pay. The board and CEO stepped down.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Avista has added a new, large solar project to its energy portfolio. The Spokane-based utility held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the central Washington town of Lind today [Tuesday] to mark the occasion.

Avista Coporation

Avista Utilities officials believe they are on track to get approval from utility commissions in five states to complete their merger with a Canadian company.

Hydro One of Ontario is hoping to acquire the Spokane utility.

The plan hit a bump in the road this summer when the CEO and board of directors at Hydro One were replaced.

The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission then asked for more information on how the management changes would affect the proposed merger. This week, Idaho regulators set a new schedule for hearings as well.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

The Spokane City Council may vote to override Mayor David Condon’s veto of a renewable electricity ordinance that sets goals for the city.

One business organization is calling for the council not to act on the mayor’s veto. Instead, it urges interests from all sides to work to create what it calls realistic energy goals.

The ordinance pushes the city to run its own operations exclusively using renewable electricity sources, such as water, the sun and wind, by the year 2020. Then it goes farther, urging a goal of 2030 for 100% electricity from renewable sources for the rest of the city.

Spokane Council Passes Renewable Energy Ordinance

Aug 20, 2018
Doug Nadvornick/City Cable 5

The Spokane City Council last night [Monday] approved an ordinance that sets a 100% renewable energy goal for the city. The measure was approved after more two hours of testimony.

The measure lists two major goals. One calls for the city of Spokane to run its operations exclusively using renewable electricity sources by the year 2020. The second sets a goal of getting the rest of the city to accomplish that by 2030.