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

PUBLIC ENERGY WEEK 2015 A BIG SUCCESS

The City of Hamilton celebrated Public Energy Week 2015 from Oct. 5 to Oct. 9 in conjunction with the American Public Power Association's 2015 Public Power Week and the American Public Gas Association's 2015 Public Natural Gas Week. The celebration included a number of free events throughout the week including educational displays in the lobby of the Municipal Building, an open house at the Hamilton Hydroelectric Plant on the Ford Canal, and the annual Customer Appreciation Cookout on the Municipal Building plaza at the corner of High St. and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Locally owned electric and natural gas systems mean local control, competitive costs, superior customer service, and economic benefits for the entire Hamilton community! THANK YOU to all those who joined us in celebrating Hamilton Utilities during Public Energy Week 2015!

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 projects, designed to help the City meet water quality regulations, are nearing completion along the Great Miami River. 
 
Recent project activities include repair of the Arch Street siphon, grading and seeding along the Great Miami River, and completion of the access road that ties into Phase Two of the Great Miami River Recreational Trail project.  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, will soon be completed.

Overhead utility lines have been placed underground, decorative light-emitting diode (LED) streetlights have been installed, the median hardscape has been constructed, and landscaping has been completed. The final layer of asphalt was placed on High Street from Sixth Street to South Erie Highway (Ohio Route 4) this week, and crews continue work on the access drive running south of High Street behind existing businesses.  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.  Through early October 2015, approximately 508 incandescent streetlights have been replaced with LED fixtures, resulting in an estimated annual energy savings of more than 254,800 kilo-watt hours (kWh). 

City crews replace older streetlight fixtures with LED technology as maintenance issues arise; however, the City plans to replace 500 streetlights along Milville Ave., NW Washington Blvd., U.S. Route 127, and Neiland Blvd./River Rd. before the end of 2015. The complete LED streetlight materials inventory for this project has been received, Xtreme Powerline Construction has been awarded the contract, and work is scheduled to begin in October.

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 continues on two improvements designed to help retain and attract jobs to Hamilton while improving vehicle and pedestrian safety. Overhead electric distribution lines are being placed underground in two of the City's commercial/industrial development areas: Bilstein  Boulevard south of Symmes Road and Hamilton Enterprise Park between Hamilton-Mason and Tylersville roads. Underground conduit for fiber optic and streetlight cables is being  installed as part of the improvements, along with light-emitting diode (LED) streetlights. 
 
Conduit and primary wire installation on Bilstein Boulevard is complete, as well as installation of primary electric junction boxes and fiber optic junction boxes. Work continues on primary wire terminations and the installation of new LED streetlights. The project at Hamilton Enterprise Park is substantially complete. 

 
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.
MCDULIN PARKING GARAGE GETS LIGHTING UPGRADE
 

The City of Hamilton recently completed the McDulin Parking Garage lighting improvement project that began earlier this year. The project is designed to improve the safety and security of the parking facility for downtown businesses, residents and visitors. The project involved updating lighting on all five parking levels, elevator bays, stairwells, roof top pole lamps, exit signs, and the covered area of Market Street under the parking garage with light-emitting diode (LED) lights. As a result of the improvement, the City is expected to save 275,000 kilo-watt hours (kWh) of energy annually, and approximately $21,999 in avoided energy costs per year. Additionally, an Efficiency Smart rebate reduced the net project cost by $14,300.

 

    

3rd Floor of the McDulin Parking Garage before and after lighting improvements.

HAMILTON CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT KICKS-OFF ENERGY EFFICIENCY UPGRADES

With the assistance of Hamilton Utilities and Efficiency Smart, Hamilton City School District recently completed two major energy efficiency projects that will help the District reduce its energy consumption, costs and carbon footprint. Incandescent outdoor lighting fixtures at Hamilton High School were converted to light-e mitting diode (LED) technology and an ine fficient chiller at the Hamilton Freshman School was replaced with a new, energy efficient unit. As a result of these two projects,  Hamilton City School District is expected to save approximately 340,000 kilo-watt hours  (kWh) of energy annually, a projected savings of approximately $35,882 annually and $769,531 over the lifetime of the installed measures. Additionally, the net cost of the projects was reduced by $7,500 through Efficiency Smart financial incentives. Read More

 

For more information about Efficiency Smart's services for residential and business customers, visit www.efficiencysmart.org.   

CITY'S ALTERNATIVE FUEL INITIATIVES CONTINUE TO GROW
 

The City of Hamilton continues its efforts to decrease fuel costs and minimize its environmental impact by utilizing alternative fuel vehicles. The City's fleet currently includes nine compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles operated by the Electric, Underground Utilities, Meter Reading, and Hamilton Police departments. Electric Distribution also currently operates two hybrid electric bucket trucks and is anticipating delivery of a CNG bucket truck in the coming months.

 

The Hamilton Meter Reading Division's four CNG vehicles greatly contributed to the City receiving recognition from Clean Fuels Ohio, a non-profit dedicated to improving and increasing green efforts. On September 24, 2015, the City of Hamilton's fleet received an award from Clean Fuels Ohio designating the Meter Reading Division as a one-star Green Fleet. 

 

In addition to CNG use by City vehicles, the municipal CNG station continues to experience growth in external sales as more private vehicles utilize the station to fuel up. 

CITY OF HAMILTON WATER ONCE AGAIN NAMED "BEST OF THE BEST"
 

At the annual conference of the Ohio Section of the American Water Works Association, the City of Hamilton's water won the "Best of the Best" Water Taste Test as the best tasting municipal water in Ohio. Hamilton's water was selected from a total of 12 entries in this year's statewide competition. This is the fourth consecutive year the City's water has received the "Best of the Best" Water Taste Test award and the fifth time in the last six year. Read More

HAMILTON ELECTRIC RECEIVES RECOGNITION FROM AMERICAN MUNICIPAL POWER 
 
The City of Hamilton Electric Department received multiple awards at the 2015 American Municipal Power (AMP)/Ohio Municipal Electric Association (OMEA) Annual Conference in September. The Electric Department was recognized for environmental stewardship, safety, and system improvements, as well as the Department's efforts to promote public power through marketing, consumer awareness and branding. A full list of the awards received is provided below. 
  • Environmental Stewardship Award - 2015 Arbor Day Tree Planting at 550 North Third Street
  • Transmission/Distribution Safety Commendation
  • Generation Safety Award - Power Plant Operation
  • System Improvement Award, Honorable Mention - Third Street Utility Improvements
  • Public Power Promotion Award, Honorable Mention - 2014 Public Energy Week Celebration
LOCATING AND OPERATING YOUR WATER SHUTOFF VALVES
 
Anytime there is a leaking or burst pipe inside your home, the initial step is to shut off the water supply immediately. Knowing where the shutoff valves are located can make a big difference in protecting your home from water damage in an emergency. 

Round "wheel" handle valves are called Gate Valves and will stop water flow by turning the handle clockwise. It may take two or more full revolutions to completely close the valve. Level handle valves are called Ball Valves and stop water flow by turning the handle until it is perpendicular to the pipe. Ball Valves should stop at a 1/4 turn.

Use the guide below to locate water valves in your home before an emergency occurs so, when you're in a pinch, you know exactly where to go.

Kitchen - Typically located directly underneath the kitchen sink or the lower area of the cabinet, the kitchen shutoff valve is easy to distinguish because it is located on pipes running to the faucet. If you have a dishwasher, another valve may be located by following the additional pipe running from the sink's hot water supply, or if your home has a lower level, in the basement below the dishwasher.

Bathroom - The toilet valve is often obvious just beneath the tank, and depending on  the placement of the bathtub and sink, there may be one or two additional shutoff valves. A sink's water shutoff valve is usually under the sink, but it may also be on the other side of the wall. If the bathtub valve is not in the sink vanity, it may be located directly underneath the tub in the basement.

Laundry Room - Typically, the laundry room valve or valves are located above or behind the washing machine. 

Water Heater - In any circumstance that requires turning off the hot water heater alone, the shutoff valve is just above the appliance. 

The Entire House - The main water shutoff valve cuts the water supply to the entire house and is generally located in the basement or on an outside wall in a utility area of the house. This main valve is the one to stop most plumbing catastrophes and when you need to quickly shut the water off, this is the most reliable way. 
FALL AND WINTER ENERGY-SAVING TIPS 
 
With colder temperatures just around the corner, furnaces will soon be kicking on in area homes and businesses. The tips provided below identify strategies to help you reduce your energy use and save money during the cool Fall and Winter months. In addition, consider taking a free online energy assessment with the help of Energy Depot to find out where you can save the most, and consider making a larger investment for long-term energy savings. Energy Depot

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.

Take advantage of heat from the sun.  Open curtains on your south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home, and close them at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.  

Find and seal leaks.  Weather-strip, seal, and/or caulk leaky doors, utility cut-throughs for pipes, gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets. Also install foam gaskets behind outlet covers.

Cover drafty windows.  According to the U.S. Department of Energy, windows can account for 10 to 25 percent of your heating bill by letting heat out. Use heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames. Make sure the plastic is sealed tightly to the frame to reduce cold air infiltration.
 
Upgrade old windows with new energy efficient windows.  Here are a few things to keep in mind when selecting new windows:
  • Low-E coatings on the glass reflect heat inside your home and reflect the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays outside your home.
  • Multiple panes of glass increase insulation and help maximize energy efficiency.
  • Low U-values or U-factors have the highest insulating properties.
Maintain your heating system.  Replace your furnace filter once a month, and schedule service for your heating system to find out what maintenance is required to keep the system operating efficiently.

Add insulation to your attic. If your existing insulation level is R-19 or less, consider insulating your attic to at least R-30.  

Reduce heat loss from the fireplace. Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning and ensure its seal is as snug as possible. When using the fireplace, open dampers in the bottom of the firebox (if provided) or the nearest window slightly (about one inch), close doors leading into the room, and reduce the thermostat setting to between 50° and 55°F.
  
Reduce holiday lighting costs. Use light-emitting diode (LED) holiday light strings to reduce the cost of decorating your home for the winter holidays. 
LOCAL BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT 
 
City of Hamilton & CenterGrid launch high-speed internet partnership
 
The City of Hamilton and CenterGrid have entered into an agreement to utilize Hamilton's fiber optic network to provide internet/data transport services to local businesses. CenterGrid is a Hamilton-based hosting company engaged in providing, among other services, internet access, managed hosting, and colocation.  In addition to providing high-speed internet, the fiber will also provide businesses access to an expanded list of hosting, network and cloud-computing services. For businesses interested in the service, please contact Terri Hemmer at CenterGrid at (513) 642-0008. For more information, visit CenterGrid's website 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
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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