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Avista Corporation
FormerlyWashington Water Power
S&P 600 component
IndustryEnergy, private utility
Founded1889, 133 years ago (as Washington Water Power)
Headquarters1411 E Mission Ave, ,
Key people
Scott Morris
Chairman and CEO[when?]
ProductsElectricity and natural gas
RevenueIncrease $1.473 billion[1]
Number of employees
SubsidiariesAlaska Electric Light & Power
Outage Map

Avista Corporation is an American energy company which generates and transmits electricity and distributes natural gas to residential, commercial, and industrial customers. Approximately 1,550[citation needed] employees provide electricity, natural gas, and other energy services to 359,000 electric and 320,000 natural gas customers[citation needed] in three western states. The service territory covers 30,000 square miles (78,000 km2) in eastern Washington, northern Idaho, and parts of southern and eastern Oregon, with a population of 1.5 million.[2]

Avista Utilities is the regulated business unit of Avista Corp., an investor-owned corporation headquartered in Spokane, Washington. Avista Corp.'s primary, non-utility subsidiary was Ecova, an energy and sustainability management company with over 700[citation needed] expense management customers, representing more than 600,000[citation needed] sites. In 2014, Ecova was sold to Cofely, a subsidiary of GDF Suez.[3]

The company was founded 133 years ago in 1889 as Washington Water Power Company.[4][5] The board of directors approved a name change to Avista Corporation, effective January 1, 1999, and the company began trading under the Avista name on Monday, January 4.[4][6][7]

At that time, the company also bought naming rights for Spokane's minor league baseball park, Avista Stadium.


The Post Street Substation, which bears the company's original name, and Monroe Street Dam in downtown Spokane, now operated by Avista

Washington Water Power was founded in 1889 helping the new city of Spokane Falls to have more power. Using the Spokane River,[8][9] the idea was that the town could use hydroelectricity. Trustees of the Edison Electric Illuminating Company asked for people to back them up in their project from New York to build a power station on the river. The people in New York refused saying that water power had little to no value. Defying the people in New York, 10 stockholders stepped up to support the project themselves and formed Washington Water Power to build it.[10]

In the 1890s through the 1930s, Washington Water Power bought up streetcar companies in the city of Spokane and had cornered the transportation market by 1900. Despite seeing a peak in 1910, ridership declined through the 1930s and Washington Water Power's final streetcar line closed in 1936. The company would never again seek to enter the public transportation market.[11]

In 1892 Washington Water Power purchased a park called Twickenham Park on the banks of the Spokane River. The company renamed the attraction Natatorium Park and expanded it with a large swimming pool in 1895 and it became an all-purpose recreation site for the city. Washington Water Power eventually sold the park in 1929.[11] Washington Water Power expanded in Oregon and into California by acquiring the natural gas operations of CP National from Alltel in 1989.[12] The California operations were sold to Southwest Gas in 2005.[13]

In 2014, Avista acquired Alaska Electric Light & Power, the electric utility for Juneau in an all stock transaction worth $170 million.[14]

Avista supports adoption of electric vehicles. In 2016, Avista proposed a two-year pilot program that would install 265 charging stations for electric cars in the eastern part of Washington state. The program was estimated to cost around $3.1 million. It would install fast electric vehicle charging stations in 120 homes, 100 work places, and 45 public areas.[15]

In 2017, Ontario-based electrical utility Hydro One agreed to purchase Avista.[16]

In December 2018, The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission rejected the proposed takeover by Hydro-One, saying the Ontario government (its largest shareholder) led by recently elected premier Doug Ford, had interfered politically in Hydro One's business affairs, most glaringly ordering the removal of CEO Mayo Schmidt, who he dubbed "the Six Million Dollar Man" during the election and vowed to fire him if elected.[17]


On September 27, 2002, Avista was sued for issuing false and misleading statements concerning its business and financial condition, including failing to disclose that Avista was engaged in highly risky energy trading activities with Enron and Portland General Electric.[18] On December 20, 2007, Avista agreed to a $9.5 million settlement.


On February 20, 2002, the company had voluntarily adjusted the amount originally allocated to IPR&D and will restate its third quarter 1998 consolidated financial statements accordingly


Other media[edit]

Matthew Modine's character Louden Swain (Vision Quest) can be seen running over the Monroe Street Bridge with “Washington Water Power” prominently displayed in the background on the historic Washington Water Power Post Street Electric Substation.


  1. ^ "Form 10-K 2014 Avista Corporation". SEC. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  2. ^ "Avista Corp. 2012 Shared Value Report". Avista Corp. Retrieved September 10, 2012.
  3. ^ "Our History". Avista Corp. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
  4. ^ a b Wiley, John K. (January 5, 1999). "WWP's name changed to Avista Corp". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Associated Press. p. 7A.
  5. ^ "Avista Legacy Timeline". Retrieved September 10, 2012.
  6. ^ Caldwell, Bert (January 5, 1999). "It's officially Avista". Spokesman-Review. p. A6.
  7. ^ "SEC filing". Avista Corporation. press release. January 4, 1999. Retrieved June 17, 2015.
  8. ^ "Spokane Falls are almost dry". Spokesman-Review. September 28, 1904. p. 7.
  9. ^ "Seek Power Plant at Rapids". Spokane Daily Chronicle. February 8, 1910. p. 2.
  10. ^ "Avista Utilities - an Energy Company".
  11. ^ a b "Washington Water Power/Avista". historylink.org. Retrieved March 3, 2020.
  12. ^ "WASHINGTON WATER POWER COMPANY - Company Profile, Information, Business Description, History, Background Information on WASHINGTON WATER POWER COMPANY". Retrieved December 3, 2014.
  13. ^ "Avista Leaves CA; Southwest Gas Assumes S. Tahoe Utility Customers". May 2, 2005. Retrieved December 3, 2014.
  14. ^ Westmoreland, Charles L. (July 1, 2014). "Avista, AEL&P seal the deal". Juneau Empire. Archived from the original on July 29, 2014. Retrieved February 17, 2018.
  15. ^ "Avista Utilities asks Washington state regulators to approve electric vehicle charger pilot". Utility Dive. Retrieved November 24, 2018.
  16. ^ "Hydro One signs blockbuster deal to buy Avista for $6.7B in cash | CBC News".
  17. ^ "Washington State regulators reject Hydro One's takeover of Avista Corp". December 5, 2018.
  18. ^ "Class Action Lawsuit Against Avista".
  19. ^ "Avid Technology Announces Revaluation of Acquisition Charges; First Quarter 1999 Revenue Expected to be Approximately 6% - 10% Above Prior Year".

External links[edit]