Spokane Journal of Business

Avista posts high marks from its customers

Ninety-five percent say they are at least satisfied

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For the second straight year, 95 percent of surveyed Avista Utilities customers reported being either satisfied or very satisfied with their service. 

Avista Corp. published the results of that 2014 survey in “The Power of Shared Value 2015” report that it released last month. 

The results are similar to those of a 2013 survey that also showed a 95 percent approval rating, up from 93 percent in 2012.  

On a five-point scale, a rating of four is considered satisfied and a five rating is very satisfied. Nearly 1,600 respondents who had contact with Avista’s call center, or construction services department, received a follow-up telephone questionnaire asking to rate their experience with the company, says Avista spokeswoman Jessie Wuerst.

Avista has been charting customer service responses longer than the shared value report has been compiled.

For the 15th straight year, at least nine of 10 Avista Utilities customers said they’re satisfied, or very satisfied, with the company’s service. Each year, Avista hires an independent, third-party company to complete the questionnaire. Surveys are conducted quarterly, she says.

“Historically, a ‘sustainability report’ is narrow in scope and refers to just environmental impact,” Wuerst says. “This report has taken it a step further than that.”

She says the driving force behind compiling such an annual report was based on the multiple requests for information about the company from socially minded investment groups.

The publicly traded energy company is involved in the production, transmission, and distribution of energy as well as other energy-related businesses. Avista Utilities provides electric service to 369,000 customers and natural gas to more than 330,000 customers. 

“During a time when the utility industry is changing and evolving, our stakeholders want a transparent view into our business,” Avista Utilities President Dennis Vermillion said in a press release last month addressing the report.

“This report provides a comprehensive look at our operations and highlights those areas our stakeholders have told us they care about most,” Vermillion said. 

In the category of environmental stewardship, for the year 2014, Avista said its employees reduced their drive-alone miles by nearly 190,000 miles while eliminating just a little more than 182,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, the report says. The results are consistent with the prior year’s performance, although slightly decreased due to “the changing economic environment and the fluctuating price of gasoline.”

 Kevin Blocker
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Reporter Kevin Blocker, a University of Colorado alum, is a rec league basketball addict. At age 47, he still sports a 32-inch vertical leap. He has three children, all of whom are hooked on hoops.

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