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City of Lakeland’s Monthly Newsletter

March 2013


Track Electric Usage Through Web Portal

Florida Friendly LandscapingTM

Meet Oscar Torres: Database Manager

Hazardous Waste Collection

228 S. Massachusetts Ave Lakeland, FL 33801 863.834.6000

On Friday, April 19th there will be a free Green Celebration in honor of Earth Day with a concert & showcase at the Lake Mirror Promenade from 6 p.m.-9:30 p.m. There will be live music from the Sofa Kings along with a variety of exhibits and displays promoting green living initiatives. The Sofa Kings will provide an entertaining mix of dance, pop and rock with groovy antics to please the crowd. The band grooves audiences into a soulful mood like no other and they are a perfect fit to celebrate the 43rd Anniversary of Earth Day. Their music includes Southern Rock favorites along with crowd pleasers from the Beatles, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Buffett intertwined with hits from the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s. The Green Celebration honors Earth Day, a day intended to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s natural environment. Earth Day was founded by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in first held on April 22, 1970. Earth Day is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network and it is celebrated in more than 175 countries every year. In 2009, the United Nations designated April 22nd as International Mother Earth Day. There will be a number of exhibits and vendors that will have displays at the Green Celebration. The Polk County School Board will showcase programs and earth friendly initiatives designed to promote a greener more sustainable future. This year, Polk County Schools will exhibit a “green fair”.The audience along with a panel of judges will decide on the most innovative project that promotes a cleaner, greener environment. The Green Celebration invites the Lakeland community to attend the free event. Bring a blanket, a picnic basket and enjoy the festivities as we celebrate Earth Day. Participants are encouraged to recycle, reclaim, reuse and ride a bike.

Monthly Comparison of Residential Electric Rates

Source: Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA) Monthly Utility Bill Comparison • December 2012


Lakeland Electric customers now have Smart Meters instead of older analog mechanical meters. This new meter technology allows Lakeland Electric to operate more efficiently. Smart Meters are able to notify Lakeland Electric as to where an outage has occurred. This saves time and energy so your electricity is restored faster. The system reports exactly where the issue is so linemen can quickly repair the circuit instead of driving along a power line looking for the problem. This is just one of the benefits that your new Smart Meter and the associated Smart Grid system offers Lakeland Electric customers. Ultimately, Smart Meters provide you with more detailed information about your energy use. For the first time ever, you can be an active participant in your household’s energy management. Lakeland Electric customers now have more control over how much power is used – and when it is used. There is a customized web portal available right now so customers can view their electric usage patterns with easy to read reports. There is much to gain by monitoring and reducing your use of

electricity. Customers using the web portal can be an active participant in practicing energy efficiency – saving money and reducing your impact on the environment. Customers can view and analyze their electricity usage and find ways to make energy consumption more efficient. The web portal is easy to use, secure and it will only take a few minutes to setup online. The portal displays daily, weekly and monthly electricity usage in detail. The portal allows customers to compare current energy usage by day, week, and month versus the previous period usage.Your energy graphs can be viewed in kilowatt hours (kWh) or dollars and cents. Customers also have the ability to view and compare their billing statements. Transforming the current electric grid into a more intelligent system involves a wide range of advanced technologies, including Smart Meters, which improve the reliability and security of the national energy grid. Please visit www. to start your Smart Meter web portal access and to receive more information on the Lakeland Electric Smart Meter Program.

Learn How You Can Start Saving With a FREE Home Energy Audit A FREE Home Energy Audit will help you understand and improve your home’s energy efficiency.A Lakeland Electric Energy Analyst will conduct a thorough inspection of your home by surveying your insulation, duct work, water heating, cooling & heating systems and overall efficiency.After the audit, you will receive a customized evaluation of your home’s energy efficiency as well as low and no-cost tips for lowering your bill. Call 863.834.6789 to schedule an appointment.

UPDATE YOUR CONTACT INFO At Lakeland Electric, we monitor weather conditions closely so we can respond to power outages as quickly as possible. We’ve installed equipment to protect your electric service against wind, rain and lightning. Despite these safeguards, you may still experience an interruption in your service. In most cases, our automatic equipment will restore service in a matter of seconds. However, when a severe storm hits our area, damage to our facilities could leave many customers without electricity. During an outage, our number one priority is to restore service to all customers without power as quickly as possible. Our repair crews respond 24 hours a day, seven days a week and are often in the field restoring power before the storm is over. We first repair transmission lines, substations and the main distribution lines so energy can be transmitted throughout the system. Next, we make repairs that will restore the service to the most customers in the shortest period of time. It is very important that Lakeland Electric has your current contact information so that our automated power outage reporting system can work efficiently by notifying you in case of a power outage. If we don’t have your phone number in our system, we can’t record your outage and you may be inconvenienced longer than necessary. The automated system records an outage based on the phone number and contact information on the account. Please contact Customer Service at 863.834.9535 to update your contact information so we can better serve you.

Florida Friendly LandscapingTM BEAUTIFUL YARD — LESS WATER

The Polk County Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ program coordinator Anne Yasalonis can provide free information on how to have a beautiful landscape that saves water and protects the environment. The program is guided by the nine science-based Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ principles that were developed by the University of Florida specifically for Florida’s climate and soils. Any landscape can be Florida friendly if it is designed and cared for according to the nine principles. If your homeowners association, business or home would like to receive information on classes, educational materials or assistance with your irrigation system and landscape, please call today. This program is free to Polk County residents. Call us today at 863.519.8677 ext. 121 or email us at


The Lakeland Public Library is pleased to announce the availability of Baker & Taylor’s Axis 360 digital media library for its patrons. Axis 360 is a revolutionary digital media platform, providing libraries and their patrons with a state-of-the-art system for circulating enhanced digital content and features Blio, the ground-breaking eReading software. “The demand for digital resources is growing and this service helps us meet the needs of our users” said City Librarian Lisa Lilyquist. Axis 360 is easy to use and offers many popular titles for download. In addition to a growing collection of eBooks, the service is expected to offer digital Audiobooks too. Libraries using the Axis 360 service benefit from the latest Web technologies and cloud-based delivery to mobile devices. Patrons who utilize the service will enjoy the dynamic presentation of titles on the Axis 360 Magic Wall, the ease of locating books of interest via Browse by Subject pages, as well as guidance provided via book reviews and recommendations for further reading. Cloud-based delivery greatly simplifies the process of downloading what patrons want to read onto the devices they prefer to use, including Apple, Android and Windows tablets and smartphones. Lakeland’s Access 360 service is available by clicking on the eBooks tab from the library’s website at Users will need their library card and PIN numbers to use this FREE service. If you have more questions, please contact the Library’s Service Desk for assistance at 863.834.4265.

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Meet OSCAR TORRES Oscar Torres is a Database Manager for the City of Lakeland’s Information Technology Department. He was originally hired in 2006 as a Database Administrator and through hard work and dedication, he was promoted to a more senior database position in 2007. In 2011, he was promoted to his current position. Torres says that he is overall responsible for the installation, maintenance and security of the databases maintained by the City of Lakeland such as the Utility Management, Payroll and Financials Systems. Torres said, “As a Database Manager, you get to know the entire infrastructure of the City; you understand all City functions and you get to work with a variety of people.” He added, “There is a real collaborative effort because you have network staff, development staff and of course the end user all working together toward a common goal.” He also stated that it’s a privilege to work with and have such a professional and knowledgeable staff. Torres is quick to point out that overseeing all of the City’s data is a great responsibility and a great honor. He also believes that serving his country is a great honor. Torres served with the Army for three years and he has served with the Florida Army National Guard for the past 11 years. He

is currently a Captain in the Florida Army National Guard and a Brigade Signal Officer. As a member of the Florida Army National Guard, Torres spends one weekend per month and at least two weeks a year in training exercises. This past year he has been to Japan twice for joint operations with the Japanese military. Torres was deployed to Iraq for one year in 2008 as a Company Commander where he was in charge of data and voice communications in support of ground forces throughout Iraq. When asked about his time in Iraq, Torres said, “One month before I was scheduled to return back to the United States our Forward Operating Base that supported tactical operations received heavy mortar fire and I experienced the casualties of war first hand.” Torres is scheduled for another year-long deployment April 2013 in support of Operation Noble Eagle in Washington DC. Torres recently married his wife Brooke on October 20, 2012 and he has a son,Tyler. He likes to mountain bike during his spare time and he enjoys running. When asked to name is favorite food, he had to think for a second and then responded, probably steak fajitas. Torres said his favorite color is brown and when asked to explain, he said, “I enjoy

wearing brown, a lot of my clothes are brown but I also like metallic gray because all of my cars are that color.” Torres is part of the National Guard Officers Association and he holds a Bachelors of Science Degree from the University of South Florida in Information Technology. He also has a Masters Degree from Webster University in Information Technology Management. When not working or riding his mountain bike, Torres said he likes to watch the Military Channel and the National Geographic Channel. “I like to stay informed and feel like I’m learning something when I watch television”, he said. The City of Lakeland is proud of the men and women who serve our Country and we thank Oscar Torres for his years of service to both our Country and our Community.



The formula for calculating the date of Easter was settled on during the First Council of Nicaea in 325AD called by Roman Emperor Constantine I. Its goal: to define the common beliefs for all of the Christian world.

Equinox, in latin, means “equal night.” At the equator, during the vernal and autumnal equinoxes, day and night are almost equal. This is also the first day of spring.

MARCH 20, 2013

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On Saturday, April 13, 2013 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., the City of Lakeland’s Solid Waste Division in coordination with the Polk County Solid Waste Division is sponsoring a FREE Household Hazardous Waste and End-of-Life Electronics Collection Event. The event will take place at the Lakeland Center, 701 W. Lime Street, in the south parking lot west of WONN Radio Station. This Mobile Collection Event is intended to make it more convenient for our community to safely dispose of their household hazardous waste and discarded electronic equipment. Household Hazardous Waste – Accepted Materials

Paints, paint thinners, florescent light bulbs, motor oil, drain cleaners, pool chemicals, insecticides, household batteries, etc. No biohazard (medical) waste or business waste will be accepted.


IN PERSON City Hall is open 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday PUBLIC MEETINGS City Commission and Utility Committee meetings occur the first and third Monday of every month. The public is invited to attend or watch live on

End-of- Life Electronics – Accepted Materials

Computers, monitors, keyboards, terminals, televisions, stereos, printers, fax machines, video game consoles, wireless devices etc. No more than five items per household please. If you have any questions or need additional information, please call 834-8778.

Channel 615 (Brighthouse) or Channel 43 (Verizon FiOS) CITY COMMISSION 9:00 a.m. UTILITY COMMITTEE 1:00 p.m. IMPORTANT NUMBERS City Hall 863.834.6000 Lakeland Electric Customer Service 863.834.9535 Power or Water Outages 863.834.4248 Stormwater Hotline 863.834.3300 PAYING YOUR UTILITY BILL ONLINE BY PHONE 863.834.9535 IN PERSON Lakeland Electric has partnered with over 50 local businesses including area AMSCOT offices to accept your utility payment.

March 2013 Access Lakeland  

Access Lakeland is the City of Lakeland's citizen newsletter that is distributed each month with Lakeland Electric utility bills.