Hamilton Utilities Newsletter 1st Quarter, 2016 - In This Issue:


MAJOR PROJECT UPDATES

Meldahl Hydroelectric Power Plant

The City of Hamilton and its partner American Municipal Power Inc. (AMP) continue commissioning activities at the Meldahl Hydroelectric Plant on the Ohio River.  The commissioning process includes inspecting and testing all installed plant operating equipment and systems to ensure proper operation.  The City of Hamilton will operate and maintain the 105-megawatt (MW) hydroelectric plant on behalf of local electric customers, American Municipal Power and participating AMP member communities.
 
Once Meldahl becomes fully operational, Hamilton owned and operated hydroelectric facilities  will provide local consumers approximately 453 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of clean, renewable energy annually, enough to power approximately 45,000 homes.  Learn More

Sanitary Sewer Project

The Interceptor Sanitary Sewer and Water Reclamation Facility (WRF) projects, designed to help the City meet water quality regulations, are substantially complete along the Great Miami River. 

The Interceptor Sanitary Sewer project was substantially complete in February 2016. The project consisted of two river crossings with five pipes, installation of four tunnels totaling 1,773 feet, 20 manholes, more than 7,300 feet of pipe, and completion of an asphalt access road that ties into Phase Two of the Great Miami River Recreational Trail. Based on data collected from flow meters in the system, the number and amount of sanitary sewer overflows have been reduced at the last remaining Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) sites as a result of the project.

Upgrades to the WRF were completed in October 2015 and included work at the Storm Water Pump Station, Hamilton Pump Station, and modifications to the aeration basins. This project allows the WRF to fully treat up to 48 million gallons per day (MGD), up from the previous treatment capacity of approximately 20.5 MGD.   Learn More
   
LED Streetlight Conversion Master Plan

The City of Hamilton continues conversion of its approximately 9,000 incandescent  high pressure sodium (HPS) and mercury vapor streetlights to light-emitting diode (LED) streetlights. The City plans to replace all incandescent streetlights with LEDs over a 10-year period. In 2015 d uring the first year of the program, approximately 1,202 incandescent streetlights were replaced with LED fixtures, resulting in an estimated annual energy savings of more than 602,800 kilo-watt hours (kWh). 

In 2016 City crews will continue to replace incandescent streetlights with LED technology as maintenance issues arise. Additionally, beginning in spring 2016, the City will utilize Xtreme Powerline Construction to replace an additional 675 streetlights in the following locations:
  • Columbia Bridge, South B St., and Pershing Ave. between Front St. and Neilan Blvd.
  • Standen Dr. and Rowe Ct.
  • Symmes Rd. between Gilmore Rd. and Bilstein Blvd.
  • Bobmeyer Rd.
  • Gateway Dr. and Tylersville Rd. 
  • Hancock Ave. and Grand Blvd.
  • South Fair Ave. and Harmon Ave.
  • Knightsbridge Dr. 
  • Heaton St., Neal Blvd., and Joe Nuxhall Blvd.
  • Maple Ave. 
  • Black St. and North Second St. between Black St. and North Third St.
  • Stahlheber Rd.
  • Carlisle Ave. between Stahlheber Rd. and Sunset Dr.
  • Eaton Ave. and NW Washington Blvd. between Eaton Ave. and Cleveland Ave.
  • South Washington Blvd. and Wasserman Rd.
  • Main St. between Eaton Ave. and Cereal Ave.
  • Columbia Rd., Hogan Dr., Jerdan Dr, and Westridge Dr.
  • New London Rd.
LED technology offers a substantial reduction in energy consumption along with improved service. LED streetlights consume approximately one-third of the energy required by incandescent streetlights and last three to four times longer, reducing maintenance costs and improving service. Furthermore,  LED technology offers improved lighting quality - colors are more easily distinguished and greater light distribution uniformity results in fewer hotspots and dark areas, and improved driver safety.
 
Utility Pole Assessment & Replacement Program  

Beginning in April 2016, the Electric Department and its consultant, Alden Systems, will continue the survey and condition assessment of the City's electric utility poles which began in 2015. Alden Systems will assess the condition of each wooden pole, note items such as missing access plates and exposed wiring on non-wooden poles, and identify electrical safety issues. 

The survey includes approximately 24,000 poles across the electric utility service area, and is expected to be completed in 2016. Service to City electric customers will not be impacted by the pole survey.

Additionally, Alden Systems staff is collecting Global Positioning System (GPS) location data on each pole, attaching identification numbers, photographing each pole, and recording all pole attachments for use in the Electric Department's Geographic Information System (GIS) and asset management system.
 
During the pole survey, Alden Systems representatives are working along streets and alleys and within the electric utility easements, including backyard electric easements. Survey vehicles clearly display Alden Systems and City of Hamilton Contractor identification. Clothing worn by Alden Systems representatives displays the firm's name and "Utility Inspection Contractor." Alden Systems staff also carry City of Hamilton Contractor cards for identification purposes. 

Utilizing the utility pole data collected by Alden Systems, the City is able to prioritize pole replacements and address any issues identified during the survey to ensure the electric system remains reliable and safe. Midwest Powerline Inc. has been awarded the pole replacement contract and is set to begin in April 2016. Approximately 200 utility poles are slated to be replaced in 2016.
 
Questions regarding the Utility Pole Assessment and Replacement Program can be directed to Patrick Moore, Hamilton Associate Electrical Engineer, at 513.785.7259, or via email at patrick.moore@hamilton-oh.gov.

Taft Place Electric Undergrounding Project

The Taft Place Electric Undergrounding Project consists of installing new electric conduit to replace existing, less reliable direct buried primary electric cables. The project will  increase electric system reliability for customers in Taft Place subdivision.

Amerilect Inc. was awarded the contract for this project in late 2015 and will continue installation of conduit by means of Horizontal Direction Drilling through May 2016.
HAMILTON UTILITIES WEBSITE UPDATES
 
The p ublic utilities portion of the City of Hamilton website was recently revamped! On the new Hamilton Utilities website you will find:
 
Customer Support - learn about your utility bill including utility rates, make online payments, and access additional customer support services.  

 

Safety, Efficiency & Utility Regulations - find information on utility safety, water conservation, and improving energy efficiency. Also access utility rules & regulations, including utility service and connection fees.   

 

About Hamilton Utilities - learn about the history of Hamilton Utilities and find specific information on the electric, natural gas, water, and wastewater systems.  

 

Special Utility Projects - find information on major utility projects.  

 

Utility News - review media releases and Hamilton Utilities' quarterly newsletters.  

 

Contact Us - report utility service outages and find utility department contact information.

 

Check out the new Hamilton Utilities website
here!
CITY OF HAMILTON SHARES WATER QUALITY INFORMATION
 
In light of recent accounts of drinking water quality issues in Flint, Michigan and Sebring, Ohio, the City of Hamilton wishes to share informa tion regarding steps it takes to help ensure the safety of its award-winning drinking water. 

Hamilton draws its drinking water from the Great Miami Valley Buried Aquifer, recognized as one of the highest quality water sources in the country. Hamilton's treatment process is designed to minimize the potential for lead or copper corrosion that could impact drinking water quality in local homes and businesses, and the City monitors and tests the quality and safety of its water supply from its wells to customer taps.  The City of Hamilton has more than 25 years of demonstrated compliance with EPA Lead and Copper Rule requirements.  Read More

To view the City of Hamilton's Water Quality Report, click here .
SAVE MONEY WITH EFFICIENCY SMART
 
New for 2016: Efficiency Smart now offers rebates on the purchase of advanced power strips and ENERGY START certified clothes dryers to help you save energy and money in your home. Find all of the available rebates for Hamilton Utilities residential electric customers at www.efficiencysmart.org. Questions? Call Efficiency Smart at 877.889.3777.


PAYMENT PLAN OPTIONS FOR HAMILTON UTILITY CUSTOMERS
 
Recurring Payment Plan
City of Hamilton utility customers can take advantage of automatic, recurring payments to their utility account(s). To do so, customers need to manage their utility customer account information online from the EZ Pay website. Customer account management includes updating and confirming bank account information, mailing and service address information, name changes, and other changes in personal and business information.

Budget Billing Plan
Budget Billing is a payment plan available to City of Hamilton utility customers. The program spreads out the cost of energy used during high-demand times of the year. Instead of seeing an increase in winter heating bills or summer cooling bills, Budget Billing breaks down total yearly usage into manageable monthly bills.

Hamilton Utilities determines a customer's monthly budget payment amount based on expected energy prices and previous 12 months usage at the current address. The customer will pay the budget amount monthly (at a minimum), with the last bill of the 12 month budget period serving as a "true up" bill for program overpayments or underpayments.

For additional information on Budget Billing including how to enroll, click here .

Qualified Payment Plan
Hamilton The Qualified Payment Plan allows City of Hamilton utility customers on fixed incomes to defer payments until after the first day of each month without incurring a late payment penalty. To qualify, a customer's only source of income must be benefits under Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Social Security Disability, Railroad Pensions, Veteran's Pension and/or Disability, Disability Black Lung, or any other retirement and/or pension program.

For additional information on the Qualified Payment Plan including how to enroll, click  here .
ONLINE 311 CITIZEN REQUEST CENTER

The City of Hamilton online 311 Citizen Request Center is available for residents and businesses to request a service, ask a question, notify city officials of potential problems/concerns, and suggest areas of improvement.

Requests submitted through 311 are directed to the appropriate City department and designated staff are notified. For example, residents can submit a notice that a streetlight has burned out and include an  accurate address in close proximity to the pole.  Hamilton's Electric  Distribution Division will be notified  and a service order generated. Crews typically service streetlights in the order that the service requests are received.

Cliff Poppel, a lifelong Hamilton resident, says he's been using the City's online 311 request center as long as it has been available, and encourages other residents to do the same. He uses 311 to report everything from streetlight outages, to potholes, to neighborhood safety concerns. He often tells his neighbors about the service and reminds them how easy it is to use to engage with the City. We appreciate Mr. Poppel's assistance in helping us keep streetlights working across the City!

Visit the Online 311 Citizen Request Centehere
LINDENWALD NATURAL GAS SERVICE INTERRUPTION 
 
The City of Hamilton would like to thank Lindenwald area customers for their patience and cooperation as crews worked around the clock to resolve a recent natural gas service issue.

The service interruption, impacting approximately 150 customers beginning March 18, was caused by an underground water service leak that over time wore a hole in a nearby natural gas main and then filled the pipe and adjacent mains with water, blocking natural gas flow and interrupting service to area consumers.

Crews isolated and drained approximately 10,000 feet of waterlogged natural gas mains. After all water was removed, crews filled the mains with natural gas and then began the process of restoring natural gas service to each customer.

Restoration efforts were slowed by waterlogged service lines. To avoid reintroducing water into natural gas mains, crews excavated natural gas service lines at the curb, and then disconnected the service line at the curb valve and at the natural gas meter. After disconnecting the service line at both ends, crews used compressed air to force water out of the line. Once the service line was free of water, crews could reconnect the service, restore natural gas flow and relight customer pilot lights.

In some cases, aging natural gas service lines leaked when undergoing testing prior to reconnection and had to be replaced, further hampering service restoration work.

For safety reasons, City crews cannot restore natural gas service to an unoccupied residence or business. Any customer without service is encouraged to call the City's 24-hour service number at 513.785.7550 to arrange reconnecting their service and relighting pilot lights on their appliances. 
NEW CNG BUCKET TRUCK FOR ELECTRIC 
DISTRIBUTION DIVISION

The City of Hamilton Electric Distribution Division took delivery of a new compressed natural gas (CNG) bucket truck in recent weeks, continuing the City's efforts to decrease fuel costs and minimize its environmental impact by utilizing alternative fuel vehicles. Electric Distribution also currently operates two hybrid electric bucket trucks.

Hamilton's City fleet now includes 10 compressed natural gas vehicles operated by the Electric, Underground Utilities, Meter Reading, and Hamilton Police departments.
LOCAL BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT 
 
TriHealth Bethesda Butler Hospital Opens Expansion
 
TriHealth's Bethesda Butler Hospital opened a 51,000 square foot addition to its campus at 3125 Hamilton-Mason Road in February. The $45 million expansion features 46 private medical/surgical beds and six new intensive care unit beds. Previously the hospital had eight inpatient beds. The campus now has approximately 170,000 square feet of space and 200 full-time employees. For more information, read the Cincinnati Business Courier article about the expansion here.

NEED ASSISTANCE FROM THE CITY?
 
Utilities Customer Service   513.785.7100
New Service, Move In / Move Out, Billing Inquiries
 
Power Outage                       513.785.7550
Natural Gas Leak or Odor    911
Water Leak                            513.785.7550
Streets & Sewers                  513.785.7550
Kevin Maynard
Public Utiliti es Director
345 High Street, Hamilton, Ohio
513.785.7200  
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