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Black Hills Energy Crews Answer Call for Mutual Aid in Idaho and Washington

Black Hills Energy sends dozens of crews to help restore natural gas service to 36,000 Avista customers following call for mutual aid

DENVER, Nov. 10, 2023 Black Hills Energy is sending dozens of trained technicians from Wyoming and Colorado following a call for mutual assistance to a natural gas outage affecting 36,000 homes and businesses along the Idaho and Washington border. The call for mutual aid came from a peer utility, Avista Utilities on Thursday, November 9, following an incident upstream on a wholesale pipeline.

“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,” said Nick Gardner, Black Hills Energy vice president of natural gas utilities. “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.”  

Avista has described the incident as the largest natural gas outage in its history. The outage has caused several businesses, universities and school districts to shut down in the Pullman, Moscow, Albion, Palouse, Union-Town, Colton, Genesee, Troy, Bovill, Deary, Asotin, Lewiston and Clarkston regions.

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

Black Hills Energy serves natural gas and electric customers in eight states across the Midwest. While it does not operate in Washington or Idaho, the company often provides mutual aid to peer utilities when requested. Mutual aid is an agreement through which other utilities offer their restoration services after natural disasters strike or incidents occur causing widespread outages.

Learn more about Black Hills Energy’s commitment to safety at