Avista's COVID-19 Response
We're here with you
We recognize that the impacts of COVID-19 will be felt far and wide and are still unfolding. While no one can predict the extent of the COVID-19 situation and its impact, we’re continuing to adapt and are committed to serving our customers well during this uncertain time.
We know a growing number of our customers are hurting and struggling to make ends meet. We are here for you and want to support you. If you find yourself facing financial hardships, please give us a call at 1-800-227-9187. We’ll listen to each unique situation and work to identify ways to ease the burden.
As we’ve worked to identify immediate and near-term opportunities to support our customers and communities, we know this work is not done. Along with other utilities and businesses across the region and country, we continue to plan for the future, what it might look like and how we can best serve our customers.
Avista's offices are currently closed.
Governor Inslee has issued Proclamation 20-23, pertaining to Utility Ratepayer Assistance and Preservation of Essential Services. Avista is committed to keeping our customers connected to essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic emergency. If you are experiencing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be eligible for support, including long-term payment arrangements or bill assistance. This Proclamation does not relieve customers from the obligation to pay for utility services.
More information about Avista's COVID-19 Response
Throughout the last several weeks, we’ve shared how we’ve shifted our operations to anticipate and accommodate the evolving situation. Today, Avista continues to operate in a manner that sustains focus on critical functions. The policies, procedures and protocols that we developed as we quickly initiated our response to this crisis have served us well. Following guidance from our governments, the CDC and local health organizations, we’ve reduced public interactions for all of our employees, moved the majority of employees to work from home, closed our buildings to the public, eliminated non-essential work travel, shifted the type of work being done in the field and more.
Our approach is working. To date, we still have no confirmed cases of COVID-19 among our employees, our customer service representatives continue to provide attentive and exceptional service to our customers and we’re appropriately staffed to keep the lights on and the gas flowing. We’re grateful to our employees, customers and communities who have played a role in ensuring we’re able to continue this important work safely.
As broader state and national efforts continue to identify how we’ll move together through our stay-at-home orders and toward re-opening, we realize we cannot just flip a switch and return to “business as usual.” As an essential service provider, we believe we have a unique responsibility to ensure our approach is measured, gradual and strategic.
We’re ready for the next phase of response. As we look ahead, many things will stay the same, such as the majority of employees working remotely, while other things may begin to shift. While we remain committed to sustaining our focus on our critical functions, we’ve been hard at work assessing state guidelines and our projects to identify how we can safely and responsibly continue on with important work that supports our ability to provide you with safe and reliable electricity and natural gas. With this, you may see Avista’s operations ramp up. This means you will see our teams out trimming trees, maintaining natural gas infrastructure, replacing or repairing wood poles, reading meters, supporting construction projects and engaging in other work that can be completed safely.
- Employees will continue to respond to calls to ensure the safe, reliable delivery of service.
- Customer service representatives continue to be available while working from home. While you may hear life going on in the background when you call, you can expect the same great level of service.
- To alleviate some of the burden this crisis may have on our neighbors, we’ve stopped all utility disconnects and collections, will honor all of our non-profit and sponsorship commitments and have committed through Avista Foundation to the COVID-19 Eastern Washington Community Response Fund hosted by Innovia Foundation.
- We will take steps to further reduce public interactions for employees. Customers will see employees who engage with the public wearing additional protective equipment such as masks and gloves and inquiring about the health of residents inside homes and businesses before entering. This will be done with respect and out of an abundance of caution to protect our employees and our customers.
- Customers can expect to continue to see Avista trucks out in our communities and may see them more frequently or in different locations as most employees are working or being dispatched remotely.
- Most Avista employees are working remotely.
As we resume some work, you can be assured that preserving the health and safety of our employees and all those we serve remains our top priority. We have comprehensive and specific safety protocols in place to ensure we continue to do our part. There are a few things we want you to be aware of as you may see or interact with us in the course of our work, including:
- Social distancing: We will implement social distancing of at least six feet as a first line of defense against the spread of illness whenever possible. Crews will, to the best of their ability, avoid close proximity with other employees, customers and members of the public.
- Changes in operational team structures: We’ve implemented staggered employee start times and assigned designated crews or pods who will work together consistently to reduce co-mingling. With this structure, you might see two employees working side-by-side or together in a bucket and wonder why they are not social distancing. It’s likely that these individuals are part of a designated crew or pod who have taken a deliberate approach to reduce the risk of the spread of illness while safely completing the work.
- Traveling between job sites: We’ll strive for one occupant per vehicle whenever possible. When that’s not feasible, those traveling together will continue to travel together to finish the job to reduce any exposure to other employees.
- Personal protective equipment: Employees will utilize appropriate protective equipment for the job. Employees may be wearing safety glasses, face masks or shields and gloves.
The nature of some of our work means that it won’t be feasible for every employee on every job site to follow each of these protocols exactly, but in each unique situation, all appropriate precautions will be taken to reduce exposure and minimize the spread. We’ll only engage in the work if we can do so safely and in a manner that minimizes the risk. You might see an Avista employee not wearing a mask to complete one job where it might not be safe or appropriate to do so while an employee on another job site wears a mask for the duration of the project. Each job is assessed based on its unique needs and requirements and will be approached with safety as the top priority. We’ve also implemented personal health assessments and additional sanitization efforts and supplies for crews in the field.
Some work, such as meter reading or equipment maintenance, may require us to visit customer homes or perform work that would typically involve direct or in-person customer interaction. While we will continue to serve you and complete this work, our crews will exercise social distancing and make every effort to keep you safe. If you see Avista crews out and about, we appreciate your support in keeping everyone safe by keeping a safe social distance. You may even see signs at job sites gently reminding you of this important safety precaution.
The following documents contain information and guidelines regarding COVID-19, as well as the contractor process for visiting customer's homes.
Will my power get shut off for non-payment during the Coronavirus outbreak?
After voluntarily suspending disconnects and waiving late fees in March, Avista will resume collection activities for Idaho customers in July. We remain committed to helping customers through these challenging times and has expanded payment arrangement options to help set customers with past-due balances on a realistic path forward. Our focus remains on getting customers on payment plans and providing information about energy assistance for qualifying customers. As always, disconnection is a last resort. Customers can get more information, including requesting self-service payment arrangements by visiting our assistance page.
In Washington and Oregon, temporary suspension of all collection activity remains in effect. We encourage customers who may be facing financial difficulties to call us at (800) 22-9187 to make arrangements or discuss assistance options. Customers can also visit our assistance page.
How can I afford my bill if I can’t work due to a Coronavirus outbreak in my community?
We are here to help. Our Customer Service Representatives will work with you to make flexible payment arrangements to help get you through this difficult time. In addition, there may be energy assistance or other programs available to help. Please call us at (800) 227-9187
What can I do to control my energy bill while I have to spend more time at home?
Naturally, spending more time at home, especially with children out of school, can increase your energy usage. While weather forecasts vary from region to region, we will likely see an increase in temperature in the coming weeks, which may help. Additionally, we offer energy saving tips that may also help you manage your use. Learn more about saving energy.
Will our community lose power because of this outbreak?
We remain committed to our obligation to provide safe and reliable service and are focused on ensuring this critical function is our focus at this time. We’ve taken steps over the last few weeks to ensure those employees whose responsibilities are critical to the delivery of our service are prepared and well-positioned to continue on in their roles without interruption.
I received a call demanding payment. How do I know if it’s you?
Not only has Avista made the decision to temporarily suspend all collection and disconnection activity, but we are aware that scam calls have been on the rise with the current pandemic. Please visit our scams page to learn more. If you are uncertain, you should always call us at (800) 227-9187.
Payment and energy assistance
Learn more about payment and energy assistance.
Assistance for your business
We're here for you. Assistance for your business.
If you've been asked to work from home, you may experience increased energy use. We have prepared savings tips you may find helpful below. You can also visit our Energy Savings Tips page to learn more about ways to save.
For our business customers, we have prepared savings tips and building shutdown checklists.
- Preparations checklist for workforce re-entry (PDF)
- Energy saving tips for closing buildings (PDF)
- Building shutdown checklist (PDF)
- HVAC system changes (PDF)
- House to Home energy saving tips for business owners
We've also developed a flyer with references to resources that may be able to help our small business customers.
AWB Rebound and Recovery for Washington businesses
AWB launched a new website aimed at helping Washington businesses safely welcome back employees and customers. There is an online portal for small businesses called PPE Connect that connects Washington businesses with "Made in Washington" manufacturers of personal protective equipment (PPE) and a business toolkit to help prepare physical spaces for reopening and assist in communicating new health and safety protocols. View the new AWB website at www.reboundandrecovery.org.
Idaho masks gloves sanitizer sourcing program
View the Idaho masks gloves sanitizer sourcing program website for Idaho organizations.
For more information and ongoing updates on the situation, please visit: