Every spring, Avista’s Energy Resource Van (fondly referred to as ‘ERV’) hits the road, connecting energy saving education to our customers in cities and towns throughout our Washington and Idaho service territories. In addition to low or no-cost energy saving tips, those who visit ERV receive free, easy-to-install devices that will improve their homes’ energy efficiency. Items often range from LED lightbulbs and humidity monitors to rope caulk and low-flow showerheads.
ERV events are casual and fun, providing an opportunity to interact and share about specific energy interests or concerns. For customers having difficulty paying their bill, payment options and local resources for assistance can be discussed with the energy resource team.
“I like going out and meeting our customers face-to-face; it’s a more personal experience. It’s rewarding to speak with people about new energy saving ideas because we want them to be able to keep more of their money in their pockets and understand how they’re spending their energy dollar,” said Annette Long, Avista Energy Efficiency Program Manager and frequent ERV event lead.
ERV came on the scene in 2013, making energy outreach in rural communities much more effective. In 2018, ERV traveled to 22 Idaho and 18 Washington towns, sometimes more than once.
Last year, ERV hosted 85 events/locations, connecting with 7,553 individuals. Forty-three of those events were in Idaho and the remaining were in Washington. While many of these events take place in urban service areas, a significant portion are also conducted in rural communities such as Stites and St. Maries, Idaho.
ERV often partners with food banks and community events, preventing the hassle of an additional commute for customers. “We’re able to serve customers where they are, rather than having them come to us. We get to focus on making a difference in a person’s life and while it may not be something major, it’s amazing how impactful a window plastic kit can be,” said Lisa Lee, Avista Community Outreach Program Manager.