Mutual Aid program helps Avista to quickly restore service to 36,000 gas customers

Washington, D.C. – More than 36,000 Avista customers now have restored access to natural gas service following an interruption due to a farmer-damaged pipeline thanks to quick activation of American Gas Association’s Mutual Aid program. The additional manpower from more than 300 mutual aid workers allowed Avista to conduct more than 900 relights per hour, restoring service to customers in less than a week.

AGA’s National Mutual Aid Program facilitates coordination between natural gas utilities from across the country to quickly respond to emergencies such as natural disasters and other necessary situations in an efficient and timely manner. When activated, the program calls upon volunteers from other participating natural gas companies to send crews and support staff to assist in emergency response.

Gas utilities in neighboring states and across America supported Avista’s efforts. Here’s what they’re saying.

AGA CEO Karen Harbert: “AGA’s Mutual Aid program enhances collaboration across the natural gas industry with the understanding that our combined resources can quickly restore natural gas access for communities that are hit by disasters and help ensure Americans have the energy they need and expect for comfortable homes, warm food and hot showers. Our members are committed to the safe and reliable delivery of natural gas and are proud to assist other utilities and communities in their time of need.”

Avista President and COO Heather Rosentrater: “We are extremely proud of our employees, mutual aid partners and local HVAC contractors for accomplishing this extraordinary effort. We will forever be grateful. It took thousands of work-hours to restore services.”

“Our heartfelt gratitude goes out for the unwavering patience and support shown by our valued customers. We understand the immense difficulties, stress, and frustration endured while waiting for relights and the restoration of natural gas service. The remarkable compassion and generosity displayed by these incredible communities have left a profound impact on all of us involved. The uplifting words of encouragement and thoughtful gestures, like offering coffee, snacks, and encouraging notes, provided our dedicated crews with the strength and motivation that helped us persevere during this challenging response effort.”

Black Hills VP Nick Gardner: “It is imperative that the natural gas utility industry work together during times of need to restore service to families and businesses as quickly and safely as possible. I’m extremely proud of our 44 employees who raised their hand to help their fellow utility peers – especially since this commitment may take them away from their own families for up to a week.”

Black Hills General Manager for Wyoming Operations Dustin McKen: “Our technicians who are arriving onsite today have traveled 16-22 hours to help restore natural gas service to each of those communities. Even with the added help from our teams, the restoration process involves many steps and could take several days to complete.”

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AGA Media Contact:

Emily Carlin

(202) 824-7278

Adam Kay

(202) 824-7263

About the American Gas Association

The American Gas Association, founded in 1918, represents more than 200 local energy companies that deliver clean natural gas throughout the United States. There are more than 77 million residential, commercial and industrial natural gas customers in the U.S., of which 96 percent — more than 74 million customers — receive their gas from AGA members. Today, natural gas meets nearly one-third of the United States’ energy needs.