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Gas outage mostly over

After nearly 5,000 were left without natural gas for the better part of a week, the unprecedented outage is mostly over for Ashlanders.

Avista said it had made first attempts for all 4,800 customers affected by the natural gas outage as of 3 p.m. Saturday, according to a media release.

Of the 4,800 customers impacted by the outage, only 600 remain without natural gas because technicians couldn’t access their homes for relight service on the first attempt, the energy company said.

Avista officials ask remaining customers to call 1-800-227-9187, make sure an adult is available to let the technician inside, make sure gates are unlocked so the technician can access the meter and keep any dogs properly secured on the property.

For customer safety, Avista asks customers still affected by the outage not to relight natural gas service on their own.

The outage began early Tuesday morning when crews performing routine maintenance work left a valve partially closed, causing a drop in pressure that impacted customers. Avista shut off service to customers downstream of the valve as a safety precaution.

Some restaurants and other businesses that rely on natural gas had to close, and many residents were left without heat or hot water.

Avista had restored service to about 2,300 homes by late Thursday, then to more than 3,600 by Friday afternoon, company officials said.

Brian Taylor, Avista manager of gas operations, such he’d never seen an outage of this magnitude in his 22 years working in natural gas.

Four people complained to Oregon’s Public Utility Commission about Avista during the outage, according to spokeswoman Kandi Young, and four people called the state regulating agency with unspecified questions about the outage.

For more information about the outage, see Avista’s web page at https://myavista.com/outages/ashland-natural-gas-restoration-updates.