Hamilton Utilities Newsletter Fourth Quarter, 2015 - In This Issue:

EFFICIENCY SMART PERFORMANCE UPDATE

The City of Hamilton's comprehensive energy efficiency and conservation program, Efficiency Smart, launched in February 2015. As of the end of November 2015,  Hamilton electric customers had installed 7,883 energy-efficient measures with the help of Efficiency Smart, resulting in an estimated annual energy savings of 1,766,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh).  Estimated total energy savings over the lifetime of the installed measures is 26,480,000 kWh. 

Hamilton electric customers will save approximately $2,312,424 in avoided energy costs over the lifetime of these energy efficiency upgrades. 
 
Efficiency Smart is the City of Hamilton's comprehensive energy efficiency and conservation program. Efficiency Smart  provides Hamilton residential, commercial, and industrial electric customers with technical assistance and financial incentives for energy-saving improvements. Learn more about how the Efficiency Smart program can save you money at your home or business by visiting www.efficiencysmart.org.  

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 kilo-watt hours (kWh) of clean, renewable energy annually, enough to power approximately 45,000 homes.   Learn More



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 consisted of two river crossings with five pipes. It also included installation of four tunnels totaling 1,773 feet, 20 manhoes, 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.

Upgrades for the WRF included work at the Storm Water Pump Station, Hamilton Pump Station, and modifications to the aeration basins. This project allows the WRF to treat up to 48 million gallons per day (MGD) with full secondary treatment, up from the previous treatment capacity of 18 MGD.   Learn More

 
East High Street Gateway Improvement Project 

The East High Street Gateway Improvement Project, designed to improve traffic flow and safety, and to enhance the appeal of this highly visible entrance into Hamilton, has been completed.

The project involved placing overhead utility lines underground, installing decorative light-emitting diode (LED) streetlights, constructing the median hardscape, and landscaping.  Learn More
 
 
LED Streetlight Master Plan

The City of Hamilton continues conversion of its 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 the next 10 years.  During the first year of the program, approximately 1,202 incandescent streetlights have been replaced with LED fixtures, resulting in an estimated annual energy savings of more than 602,800 kilo-watt hours (kWh). 

In 2015, City crews replaced 673 older streetlight fixtures with LED technology as maintenance issues arose. The City also utilized Xtreme Powerline Construction to replace 529 streetlights along Milville Ave., NW Washington Blvd., U.S. Route 127, Neiland Blvd./River Rd., Veterans Highway east of Fair Ave., Laurel Ave., and Grand Blvd. from Ohio Rt. 4 to the railroad. 

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.

 
Bilstein Boulevard and Hamilton Enterprise Park Electric Improvements

Work has been completed on one of two improvements designed to help retain and attract jobs to Hamilton while improving vehicle and pedestrian safety. 

Overhead electric distribution lines were placed underground along Bilstein Blvd. south of Symmes Road. Underground conduit for fiber optic and streetlight cables was also installed as part of the improvement, along with light-emitting diode (LED) streetlights. 

In Hamilton Enterprise Park, the City's commercial/industrial development area between Hamilton-Mason and Tylersville roads, LED streetlight upgrades have been complete, while the electric distribution upgrades remain under construction.

 
Pole Survey and Assessment

This summer, the Electric Department and its consultant, Alden Systems, began a survey and condition assessment of the City's electric utility poles. 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. Information collected through the survey will allow the City to prioritize pole replacements and to address any issues identified during the survey.

The survey will include 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. 
 
Questions regarding the pole survey and assessment can be directed to Patrick Moore, Hamilton Associate Electrical Engineer, at 513-785-7259, or via email at moorep@ci.hamilton.oh.us.
THIRD STREET PLAZA CELEBRATES RIBBON CUTTING
 
Through a partnership between the City of Hamilton, Hamilton Community Foundation, and the Lane Library, German Village has a new plaza on Third Street. The street was transformed into a plaza that can be closed for community activities. The $2.6 million project included a new brick paver roadway and sidewalk, medians, street trees, and lighting. The project celebrated its ribbon cutting on December 6th, in time for the German Village Christmas Walk.

HAMILTON TO IMPLEMENT WATER AND ELECTRIC RATE ADJUSTMENTS
 

The second phase of multiyear City of Hamilton water and electric rate adjustments are scheduled to take effect early in 2016. In 2014, Hamilton City Council approved multiyear water and electric rate plans. The second phase of water rate adjustments will become effective with utility bills rendered on or after January 1, 2016. The second phase of electric rate adjustments will become effective with bills rendered on or after February 1, 2016.

 

However, on December 1, 2015, the City also reduced it's Natural Gas Cost Recovery Rider (GCR) in response to lower wholesale natural gas costs. This reduction will result in a decrease of approximately $3.15 per month for residential natural gas service in 2016, offsetting much of the electric and water rate adjustments. Read More

EFFICIENCY SMART APPLIANCE RECYCLING PROGRAM TEMPORARILY SUSPENDED
 
Efficiency Smart has notified the City of Hamilton Utilities that its appliance recycling service has been temporarily suspended due to notification from its appliance recycling contractor, JACO Environmental, that JACO has ceased all services nationwide.  JACO Environmental has assured Efficiency Smart and Hamilton Utilities that any cash incentives due to customers that participated in the firm's appliance recycling program will be paid in full. 

If you scheduled an appliance for pick-up that has not occurred, are awaiting payment for a recycled appliance, have a question regarding the appliance recycling program, or if you would like to be contacted once this service has resumed, please contact Efficiency Smart's customer support team at 877-889-3777 or info@efficiencysmart.org.  Read More
PREPARE YOUR HOME FOR WINTER
 
BEFORE COLD WEATHER SETS IN:

Check sprinkler or irrigation systems.  Make sure you've turned everything off and fully drained the system.

Identify your home's freezing points. Check your home for pipes in areas that might be prone to freezing, such as crawl spaces, unheated rooms, basements, garages, and exterior walls.

Protect your pipes. Where pipes are exposed to cold, wrap them with insulation or heat tape (even fabric or newspaper can help).

Strengthen your defenses. Eliminate sources of cold air near water lines by closing off crawl spaces, fixing drafty windows, insulating walls and attics, and plugging drafts around doors.

Know how to shut off your water. Locate your main water shut-off valve. Make sure it is properly marked and in good working condition. 

WHEN TEMPERATURES STAY BELOW FREEZING:

Give pipes a helping hand. If pipes run through cabinets or vanities, open the doors to let warmer room temperatures flow in. 

Keep water working. Keep water moving through the pipes by allowing a small trickle of water to run. The cost of the extra water is typically lower than the cost of repairing a broken pipe.

BUT IF YOUR PIPES DO FREEZE:

Shut off the water immediately. Do no attempt to thaw pipes without turning off the main shut-ff valve.

Thaw pipes with warm air. You can melt the frozen water in the pipe by warming the air around it with a hair dryer or space heater. Be sure not to leave space heaters unattended and avoid the use of kerosene heaters or open flames.

Be careful turning water back on. Once pipes are thawed, slowly turn the water back on and check pipes and joints for any cracks or leaks that might have been caused by freezing.
PUT A FREEZE ON WINTER FIRES
 
The winter m onths are the leading time of year for home fires, so it is important to keep fire safety in mind when heating your home during the months ahead.

Adjust the temperature.  When you are home and awake, set your thermostat to as low as is comfortable, and turn it back several degrees when you are asleep or out of the house. Also consider installing a low-cost programmable thermostat.

Service your furnace. Have your furnace inspected and serviced by a qualified professional at least once a year.

 

Inspect and clean chimneys and vents. Not cleaning your chimney is the leading cause of chimney fires from built up creosote. Have your chimneys and vents serviced by a qualified professional at least once a year.

 

Use a metal or heat-tempered glass fireplace screen that is in good condition and is secure in its position in front of the fireplace. If children are present, use a special child-guard screen. 

 

Burn dry, seasoned wood in your fireplace or wood stove. 

 

Place cooled ashes outdoors in a covered metal container. The ash container should be kept at least 10 feet away from the home, other buildings, or anything that burns.

 

Never use extension cords with portable space heaters. Space heaters should be plugged directly into an outlet. 

 

Maintain at least 3 feet between space heaters and anything that can burnincluding bedding, paper, walls and even people. 

 

Turn off space heaters when leaving the room or sleeping, and only purchase those with an automatic shut-off.

 

Turn off electric holiday decorations before leaving home or going to bed.

 

Test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms regularly. Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms should be installed on every level of the home, inside each sleeping room, and outside each separate sleeping area. For the best protection, smoke alarms should be interconnected so when one sounds, they all sound.

 

Know your escape plan and practice with your whole family. If possible, know two ways out of every room.

LOCAL BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT 
 
Many new small businesses celebrate grand openings
 
Hamilton gained many new local small businesses in the 4th quarter of 2015.  Renaissance Fine Art Supplies and  The Almond Sisters bakery opened in the retail spaces of Artspace Hamilton Lofts.  InsideOut Studio, an art studio and gallery for artists with disabilities, opened at 150 High Street, the former Elder Beerman department store.  Lillian's, a women's clothing boutique, opened downtown at 11 S Third Street. In total, downtown Hamilton gained 8 new retail businesses in 2015. The new businesses provide a wide variety of amenities and are creating a new sense of vibrancy downtown.

Outside of downtown, two additional small businesses opened. Excel Development Center, a new preschool, celebrated a ribbon cutting in December. Safe Ship, a pack and ship business, also opened during the 4th quarter.

NEED ASSISTANCE FROM THE CITY?
 
Utilities Customer Service   513.785.7100
New Service, Move In / Move Out, Billing Inquiries
 
Power Outage          513.785.7550
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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