Avista proposes remote disconnects, reconnects
The Idaho Public Utilities Commission is taking comment through Oct. 25 on a proposal by Avista Corporation to install equipment that allows it to remotely disconnect and reconnect customers.
Avista proposes to install about 250 remote disconnect collars in rural areas and about 350 wireless meter devices in urban areas of its northern Idaho territory. The company is proposing a one-year period as a pilot to test the cost-effectiveness of the program.
Customers selected for the pilot program would be those who have had multiple disconnects, are located in rural areas or otherwise occupy premises where Avista employees may be at risk for manually performing disconnects or reconnects.
Avista claims there a number of benefits to the program. According to the company, the remote program will:
n reduce operating and maintenance expenses related to multiple disconnection and reconnections;
n increase the productivity of its employees by eliminating multiple trips to customer homes for collections;
n enhance employee safety;
n establish a quicker response time to reconnect service
n recognize a reduction in bill defaults and write-offs by encouraging prompt consumer payment over time.
The commission will proceed under a modified procedure that allows the case to be handled through written public comments rather than by public hearing. However, comments may request a public hearing.
Those wishing to submit comments must do so by no later than Oct. 25. Comments are accepted via e-mail by accessing the commissionís homepage at www.puc.idaho.gov and clicking on "Comments & Questions." Fill in the case number (AVU-E-07-09) and enter your comments. Comments can also be mailed to P.O. Box 83720, Boise, ID 83720-0074 or faxed to (208) 334-3762.