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June 7 -8, 2017: 14th Annual Energy Conference

  • Annual Energy Conference
    June 7, 2017 - June 8, 2017
    11:00 am - 4:30 pm

Benefits of Direct Use of Natural Gas

For many years, energy agencies have alerted Americans to the importance of energy efficiency. A variety of tags and certifications, backed by financial incentives, encourage us to understand our equipment buying options. We know that it makes sense to spend a little more on a product so that we can save money and energy throughout its useful life.

These efforts continue to reduce per capita energy use for both natural gas and electric customers. And the more energy we save, the lower our impact on the environment.

Avista Offers Bill Assistance Tools for Customers

Winter has landed in the northwest and with it comes cold temperatures. The bitter temperatures alone can cause rising energy use and costs, but combined with the holiday season bringing visiting friends and family, more showers, cooking and other energy using activities, customers can expect to see higher utility bills in December and January. Knowing this, Avista wants to remind customers of the bill assistance tools available to help them.

“The most important step customers can take is to contact Avista as soon as they have a concern about paying their energy bill. That way, we can work together on options to help them through the challenging time,” said Mike Broemeling, Avista’s director of customer service.

Avista offers customers a variety of payment options, including:

·         Comfort-level billing that can smooth out seasonal highs and lows by dividing an energy bill into 12 equal and predictable payments for qualifying customers.

·         Online statement and payments so customers can conveniently make payments electronically.

·         Energy assistance programs that may provide help to customers in need.

Energy assistance and Project Share grants can help qualifying customers, along with Avista’s CARES program and our partnership with local community action agencies for weatherization, heating system improvements and financial assistance.

Customers can monitor their energy use through online energy management tools, such as the Bill Analyzer or Home Energy Advisor. Avista also offers a number of energy efficiency programs and rebates to help customers save energy and operate their homes and businesses more efficiently.

For more information on all of Avista’s bill assistance tools and energy assistance options including eligibility and guidelines, visit www.avistautilities.com/assistance or call (800) 227-9187.

 

NWGA Gets a Mention in the Medford Mail Tribune

NWGA Executive Director, Dan Kirschner, was on the road in Medford, OR yesterday talking natural gas at the Medford/Jackson County Chamber of Commerce.  Dan, along with Steve Harper, Director of Gas Supply for Avista, spoke on what Southern Oregon consumers have gained from the expansion in gas supply due to shale.

Dan and Steve’s comments were highlighted in an article today in the Medford Mail Tribune; here’s a quick quote from Dan, you can read the whole article at the link below.

 “When I started this job 12 years ago, natural gas was a scarce resource,” Kirschner said. “We didn’t know how we were going to find the resources we needed to meet the needs we knew we were going to have. Suddenly we started hearing this term ‘shale gas’ and we had a revolution. We’ve moved from scarcity to today abundance.”

To read the entire article at the Mail Tribune website, click here.

Natural Gas Term of the Week: Underground Storage Facility

What it means: A subsurface geologic formation suitable for the storage of natural gas as a means of providing extra capacity in times of very high customer demand, insuring against service disruptions and allowing for increased gas purchases in times of low prices.

See it in action: A number of Northwest utilities rely on storage facilities to help manage loads and insure against any system disruptions, especially on cold days when demand spikes. NW Natural operates the Mist Underground Gas Storage field, a depleted natural gas field located in Mist, Oregon. Puget Sound Energy, Williams NW Pipeline, and Avista Corp. jointly own and operate the Jackson Prairie Storage Facility, an aquifer reservoir, near Chehalis, Washington. In other areas of the country utilities may rely on salt caverns for storage.

For a more in depth overview of storage facilities nationwide, have a look at the EIA’s “Basics of Underground Natural Gas Storage.”

Natural Gas Terms of the Week are posted each Monday, check back weekly to boost your natural gas IQ.

Follow the NWGA on Twitter: @Ben_at_NWGA

Natural Gas Term of the Week: Degree Day

 What it means: An index indicating the difference between 65 degrees Fahrenheit and the average temperature for a day.

See it in action: How does an NWGA member company with a large operating territory, like Avista, compare the different heating and cooling requirements in Medford and Spokane? One of the key means of comparison are degree-days; I’ll leave it to NOAA to describe how they are calculated:

“To calculate the heating degree days for a particular day, find the day’s average temperature by adding the day’s high and low temperatures and dividing by two. If the number is above 65, there are no heating degree-days that day. If the number is less than 65, subtract it from 65 to find the number of heating degree-days.

For example, if the day’s high temperature is 60 and the low is 40, the average temperature is 50 degrees. 65 minus 50 is 15 heating degree days.

Cooling degree-days are also based on the day’s average minus 65. They relate the day’s temperature to the energy demands of air conditioning. For example, if the day’s high is 90 and the day’s low is 70, the day’s average is 80. 80 minus 65 is 15 cooling degree days.”

While utilities use all manner of sophisticated analytical tools to help plan their energy needs for each year, degree-days provide a great overview of weather variability. As a winter peaking region for natural gas use, most of the Northwest will see many more heating degree-days each year than cooling degree-days.

However, there’s still plenty of variability in our region. In Avista’s two large natural gas service areas, Spokane sees an average of 6842 heating degree-days and 398 cooling degrees days while Medford averages 4611 heating degree-days and 725 cooling degree-days. It’s not hard to see who gets the rougher winters.

Natural Gas Terms of the Week are posted each Monday, check back weekly to boost your natural gas IQ.

Follow the NWGA on Twitter: @Ben_at_NWGA

Natural Gas Term of the Week: Combination Utility

 What it means: Utility which supplies more than one utility service, such as gas and electricity.

See it in action: Three of the NWGA’s 10 members are combination utilities, serving both natural gas and electric customers; Avista Utilities, based in Spokane, Washington, Puget Sound Energy, based in Bellevue, Washington and FortisBC, based in Vancouver BC.

Combination utilities don’t always provide both of their services to customers in the same area, or even in the same states.  Puget Sound Energy’s service area encompasses a large portion of Northwestern Washington with significant portions devoted to both gas and electric service and other areas providing only one or the other.  Avista provides both gas and electric service to much of Eastern Washington and Western Idaho but also supplies natural gas to a large section of Southern Oregon and portions of the Columbia Gorge. FortisBC provides gas service to the Vancouver metro area and portion of inland BC while their power operations are focused along the Canada-U.S. border in the central portion of the province.

Natural Gas Terms of the Week are posted each Monday, check back weekly to boost your natural gas IQ.

Follow the NWGA on Twitter: @Ben_at_NWGA

Avista Makes Price Reduction Requests in Oregon

SPOKANE, WA – NWGA Member Avista Utilities’ 96,000 natural gas customers in Oregon could see an overall decrease of 10.7 percent in their natural gas rates by Jan. 1, 2013, if the Public Utility Commission of Oregon (PUC or Commission) approves the company’s annual Purchased Gas Cost Adjustment (PGA) and related filings made today.

PGAs are filed each year to balance the actual cost of wholesale natural gas purchased by Avista to serve customers with the amount included in rates. Abundant supplies of natural gas and continued soft demand for the commodity have continued to keep wholesale natural gas prices at lower levels over the past year. The company does not mark up the cost of natural gas purchased to meet customer needs, so there is no impact on company earnings.

“Each year, we propose to adjust the rates our customers pay so that customers’ bills better reflect our actual costs of purchasing natural gas,” said Dennis Vermillion, president of Avista Utilities. “Today’s requested rate reductions are largely due to lower natural gas prices, which is good news for our customers.”

“Our customers in Oregon have been seeing the benefits of increased natural gas supply and lower prices for some time. If this request is approved, including other rate adjustments proposed by Avista and approved by the Commission, our customers will have seen their rates decrease to near 2004 levels,” Vermillion said.

Included in the filing are the costs and savings related to Avista’s purchase of the Klamath Falls Lateral, a 15-mile, 6-inch transmission pipeline, currently owned and operated by Northwest Pipeline. The Klamath Falls Lateral interconnects with Gas Transmission Northwest to transport natural gas to serve Avista’s customers in Klamath Falls, Ore. The purchase of the lateral is expected to save customers approximately $1 million annually beginning in January 2013.

Avista also made two administrative filings today with the OPUC related to demand side management and intervener funding.

If all requests including the PGA are approved, rate adjustments would take place in two phases, with the first adjustment becoming effective Nov. 1, 2012, and the second adjustment taking effect Jan. 1, 2013.

An Avista residential customer using an average 47 therms a month could expect their bill to decrease by $5.78, or 9.3%, for a revised monthly bill of $56.22 beginning November 1, 2012. A residential customer using an average 47 therms a month would see an additional decrease of $0.50, beginning Jan. 1, 2013, for a total decrease of $6.28, or an overall decrease of 10.1%, for a revised monthly bill of $55.72. Other customer groups could also expect decreases in a similar range.

If all of the requests are approved, Avista’s natural gas revenues would decrease by $10.0 million, or 9.9% effective November 1, 2012, with an additional annual revenue decrease of $0.8 million, or 0.8% effective January 1, 2013. When combined together, effective January 1, 2013, Oregon annual revenues would decrease by $10.8 million or 10.7%.

The combined costs of purchasing natural gas on the wholesale market and transporting it to Avista’s system makes up about 55 percent of an Avista natural gas customer’s bill, and these costs fluctuate up and down based on market prices. These costs are passed through to customers through Avista’s PGA filings, and Avista does not mark these costs up. The remaining 45 percent covers the cost of delivering the natural gas — the equipment and people needed to provide safe and reliable service.

To help customers proactively manage their energy use, Avista offers a number of energy efficiency programs, including rebates and incentives. Visitwww.everylittlebit.com for information on the programs that helped Avista’s Oregon customers save enough energy in the past two years to serve almost 1,100 homes with natural gas.

Natural Gas Term of the Week: Dig-In

Natural Gas Term of the Week: When buried gas facilities (or other underground utilities) are damaged by excavation.

What it means: Gas transmission and distribution pipes are typically found below ground, this keeps them safe from disturbances related to weather but it’s an issue when someone starts digging without knowing what’s below their feet.

To be informed about the location of utilities before digging it’s important to always Call 811 before you dig.  There’s no charge to have a professional come out and mark the underground utilities where you plan to dig.

What happens if a dig in does occur? Your local gas utility is prepared and works with emergency services to ensure a coordinated response if necessary.  NWGA member companies put plenty of effort into spreading the dig safely message, check out this recent commercial released by Avista Utilities:

A Natural Gas Term of the Week is posted each Monday, check back weekly to boost your natural gas IQ.  Follow the NWGA on Twitter @Ben_at_NWGA

What Powers a Natural Gas Utility? Avista’s New Commercial Has an Interesting Answer…

While it might be natural gas that’s cooking your food, heating your water and warming up your home, there’s something else that powers a natural gas utility… Avista Utilities began airing new commercials this week highlighting that special fuel, any guesses? It’s people!

Don’t think Soylent Green, think of the hundreds (or thousands) of employees required to make a utility work. Avista and other gas and power utilities are large and complex companies, but unlike certain other utility providers (think cable and phone companies) they are often headquartered right where they operate. Meaning those people on the other side of your gas meter, whether they’re ensuring pipeline safety, answering customer calls or planning the next system expansion, are your neighbors as well.

Have a look at the new commercial below:

Events

June 7 -8, 2017: 14th Annual Energy Conference

unknown14th Annual Energy Conference
June 7 – 8, 2017

Annual Energy Conference Program

 

Skamania Lodge: Discounted rates are $152, plus lodge fees and taxes for a forest view room and $172, plus lodge fees and taxes for a river view room. The Lodge now has a 5-day cancellation policy. The lodge is currently SOLD OUT for the night of June 8, you may request to be put on the waitlist.  Reservations are available now by contacting the Lodge 1-800-221-7117 and let them you are attending the Annual Energy Conference. Make online using the code 1XW46U.

Alternative Lodging Options:

Best Western Plus at Columbia River Inn                           Columbia Gorge Inn
735 WaNaPa Street                                                                    404 Wa Na Pa Street
Cascade Locks OR 97014                                                         Cascade Locks OR 97014 
Reservations: 541-374-8777                                                    Telphone:  541-374-0015
                                                                                                       Online Reservations

CANCELLATIONS:
Refund, less $50 fee, will be given up to May 26, 2017. After that date, we have already confirmed headcounts and committed to your cost of attendance. We are happy to allow substitutions by calling 503.344.6637.

Continuing Education Credits: We have applied to receive approval for attorneys (Oregon and Washington) to earn CLEs for the attendance at the annual energy conference.

Who is attending?

 Lawrence Acker — Van Ness Feldman LLP  Teresa Acosta — Calpine Energy Solutions  Judy Adair — Northwest Gas Association  Rick Adair — Energy NewsData  Paula Allen — United Energy Trading  Ronald Amen — Black & Veatch Management Consulting, LLC  Dana Anderson — Avista  Darren Anderson — Idaho Power  Shalena Armstrong — Shell Energy  Mckenzie Avenetti — SUPREME PERLITE COMPANY  Nick Avenetti — Supreme Perlite Company  Graham Bailey — NORPAC  Jay Balasbas — Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission  Jay Balasbas — Washington Utilities & Transportation Commission  Donna Barnett — Perkins Coie  Keith Barnhart — Shell Energy North America  Beth Beatty — Cost Management Services, Inc.  David Bennett — FortisBC Energy Inc.  Walter Bennett — Williams Northwest Pipeline  Tim Boyd — The TSB Group  Ed Brewer — Willliams Northwest Pipeline  Edward Brewer — Williams Northwest Pipeline  Tyne Brownlow — International Paper  Ian Burkheimer — Plum Energy  Jeff Bush — Calpine Energy Solutions  John Campion — PSE  John Carr — Industrial Customers of Northwest Utilities  Brent Carson — Van Ness Feldman LLP  Dan Casey — Thermic  Nick Caumanns — Cascadia Energy Ltd  Ed Coghlan — ON Semiconductor  Cliff Conte — Calpine Energy Solutions  Scott Corzine — Puget Sound Energy  Becky Coughlin — IGI/BP  Robert Cox — Kapstone Paper  Brian Cunnington — Cascade Natural Gas  Lynn Dahlberg — Williams Northwest Pipeline  Charles Deister — Jordan Cove LNG  Cynthia Des Brisay — FortisBC  Bill Donahue — Puget Sound Energy  Candice Engel  Ralph Epling — IGI Resources, a BP Energy Company  Carl Fink — Blue Planet Law  Grant Forsyth — Avista Corp.  Kelly Francone — Energy Strategies  Ken Fuhr — Independent Energy Consultants(BC)  Alan Garcia — NW Natural  Kimberly Gentle — Pend Oreille PUD  Laren Gertsch — Williams Northwest Pipeline  Rich Greenwell — Cost Management Services, Inc  Teresa Griffels — Portland General Electric  Sara Grigsby — SUPREME PERLITE COMPANY  Scott Gutting — Energy Strategies  Jena Hackett — International Paper  Steve Harper — Noble Gas & Power  Charley Hathaway — Northwest Procurement Solutions LLC  Tom Haymaker — Clark Public Utilities  Clifton Hazen — NW Natural  Leslie Heilbrunn — Portland General Electric  Kim Heiting — NW Natural  Eric Hiaasen — Clatskanie PUD  Nancy Holbrook — IGI Resources, Inc.  Chris Horn — Columbia Steel Casting Co.  Brandon Houskeeper — Puget Sound Energy  Sam Jackson — Apex Companies  Jason Johns — Stoel Rives LLP  Curtis Johnson — Calpine Energy Solutions  Garth Johnson — Enbridge Inc.  Scott Johnson — NW Natural  Cheryl Jones — Southern Cross Corp  Massoud Jourabchi — Northwest Power and Conservation Council  Robert Kahn — Northwest & Intermountain Power Producers Coalition (NIPPC)  Nick Kaiser — Nippon Dynawave Packaging Co.  Andreas Kammereck — Golder Associates Inc.  Bryn Karaus — Van Ness Feldman  Ryin Khandoker — Portland General Electric  Cathy Kim — Portland General Electric  John Kinder — Questar Pipeline, LLC  Alan Kiraly — SUPREME PERLITE COMPANY  Peter Kresnyak — Absolute Energy  Michele Kvam — Puget Sound Energy, Inc.  Mary Lang — FortisBC  Nancy Lange — NW Natural  Andrew Lightfoot — Puget Sound Energy  Tamy S Linver — NW Natural  Scott Madison — Intermountain Gas Company  Dave Madsen — Williams Northwest Pipeline  Daniel Mangeac — IGI Resources, INC.  Bruce Martin — WestRock Tacoma  Eric Martin — Stoel Rives LLP  Eric Martuscelli — Cascade Natural Gas Corporation  Jawad Masud — TransCanada  Josh McCall — BP  Mary McCordic — Shell Energy North America (Canada) Inc.  Gayle McCutchan — Calpine Energy Solutions  Gayle McCutchan — Calpine Energy Solutions  Mike McGrath — Intermountain Gas Company  Timothy McMahan — STOEL RIVES LLP  George Minter — SoCalGas  Jerry Mishler — Supreme Perlite Company  Jody Morehouse — Avista  Bob Morman — Cascade Natural Gas - MDU  Kirby Morrow — Absolute Energy  Stewart Muir — Resource Works  Tom Myrberg — Questar Pipeline, LLC  Stephen Newell — Ruby Pipeline  Thomas Pardee — Avista Corp  Joelyn Pineda — Shell Energy North America  Justin Pino — United Energy Trading  Rob Platt — United Energy Trading  Elizabeth Ponce — U.S. Cellular  Aldis Raisters — Georgia-Pacific  Jassi Randhawa — FortisBC  Rick Rautenbach — Enbridge  Connor Reiten — NWGA  Clay Riding — Northwest Innovation Works  Grant Ringel — Puget Sound Energy  Chris Robbins — Cascade Natural Gas Corp.  Mike Roberts — KapStone  Thad Roth — Energy Trust of Oregon  Shan Rowbotham — City of Ellensburg  Shan Rowbotham — City of Ellensburg  Dave Santen — NW Natural  Amy Schulties — NW Natural  Kaylene Schultz — Avista  Randy Schultz — IGI Resources, Inc.  Robert Schuster — FortisBC  Eric Scott — Avista Corporation  Mark Sellers-Vaughn — Cascade Natural Gas Corporation  Gary Sernovitz — Lime Rock Management  Steve Simmons — Northwest Power and Conservation Council  Tom Simpson — NW Natural  Gurvinder Singh — Puget Sound Energy  Heather Sixkiller — Portland General Electric  Trudy Slagle — Lamb Weston  Derrick Smith — MacKay Sposito  Teresa Smith — Pend Oreille PUD  Jared Sommer — BYU-Idaho  Tania Specogna — FortisBC Inc  Buddy Stanavich — City of Ellensburg  Mark Steele — Norpac Foods  Ashleigh Stewart — Boeing  Ashley Stowkowy — TransCanada  Ashley Stowkowy — TransCanada  Don Sturtevant — Simplot  Dennis Swanson — FortisBC  David Swenson — Intermountain Gas Company  Mona Tandon — Van Ness Feldman  Mike Thueson — BYU-Idaho  Gary Venz — Williams Northwest Pipeline  Fred Weisberg — Weisberg Law Corporation  Jay White — TransCanada  Keith White — NW Natural  Rusty Williams — BP  Bruce Wittmann — Wittmann Consulting LLC  Brian Wood — Nippon Dynawave Packaging Co.  Tom Yarborough — Weyerhaeuser Company  Dave Yexley — MDU Utilities Group-Cascade Natural Gas