As we wind down 2023, we can take time to reflect on how busy of a year it has been. We had numerous planned maintenance activities on our pipelines, measurement and compression facilities and we want to thank you for your support in limiting service disruptions. Managing planned outages requires significant collaboration and can be very challenging when you include variable weather.
Unfortunately, in 2023, we also experienced two significant unplanned outages resulting from third party line strikes rupturing our pipelines. However, we are very fortunate that there were no injuries, explosions, or fires from these line strikes.
The Middleton, Idaho line strike in October had minimal impact on our system operations since the mainline is looped in this area. However, the Pullman, Washington line strike on the Lewiston Lateral in November had significant downstream impacts with over 35,000 customers of Avista losing natural gas service for 5 days.
Both incidents occurred on private property due to excavation work being performed by the landowner or the landowner’s lessee. Both incidents could have been prevented if the landowner or lessee had only followed the legally required 811 Call Before You Dig Program. Under this program, Northwest Pipeline would have been notified of the planned work ahead of time and would have located and marked the pipelines so the excavation work would not have impacted the high-pressure pipelines. We will work with you and the communities where our pipelines are located to increase compliance with our damage prevention programs and through additional education and awareness. Safety is our #1 Priority.