OUC vehicles “then and now” — dieselpowered truck and hybrid bucket truck.
Customer Education and Outreach In the Community From hurricane preparedness to input on transmission line projects, OUC was committed to keeping customers informed through neighborhood outreach. OUC worked with St. Cloud and the community to determine the route of a new transmission line and the location of a new substation — holding several public meetings to speak with residents and invite their input. To determine the preferred route, engineers looked at 74 different transmission line segments and 96 alternative route combinations.
Hurricane Preparedness and Conservation Following the record-breaking hurricane season of 2004, OUC held 18 community meetings to discuss hurricane preparation and response for the 2005 storm season. The utility continued those meetings in 2006 and 2007. In early 2010, faced with a worsening economy and a rising number of calls from customers who were having difficulty paying their utility bills, OUC
Balancing Affordability, Reliability and Environmental Stewardship
consumption and, in turn, their utility bills.
Beginning in 2006, the demand for affordable,
Billing options and payment assistance also
reliable, clean generation was more important
were featured. Later that same year, OUC
than ever, as the whole country was embracing a
partnered with the City of Orlando for the
“green revolution.” Companies scrambled to add
Green Neighborhood Program, which would
renewable resources to their generation portfolios
deliver efficiency upgrades to more than 1,000
as Congress debated “climate” laws that would
inefficient homes throughout Orlando.
tax carbon emitted from power plants. Talk of “cap and trade” regulation was the rage as utilities
In the Classroom
began to look for ways to reduce their power plant
Throughout its history, OUC has often gone into local classrooms to talk to students about electrical safety, conservation, hurricane preparedness
Project AWESOME In 2009, OUC partnered with the
OUC undertook an electric Integrated Resource Plan to determine the best way to provide clean, affordable, reliable power and to comply with
and careers in utilities. In 2006, OUC
Orlando Science Center to develop
potential federal climate legislation. The utility also
renewed its outreach in the schools,
a program to educate all fifth grade
looked for ways to help customers become more
focusing on Central Florida’s diminishing
students in OUC’s electric and water
water resources. OUC partnered with
service territories in Orange and Osceola
Orange County Utilities and arts teachers
counties about water conservation,
in Orange County Public Schools to
energy efficiency and alternative energy
A Commitment to Sustainability In response, OUC renewed its efforts to
A Green Fleet
so that they are as reliable as the crews and
That commitment to sustainability was equally evident in OUC’s growing fleet. OUC’s reputation for reliable and responsive electric and water service over the years stems, in large part, from the hard work of the Fleet Division that has kept the utility’s vehicles on the road and ready to roll. In 1955, the then-Automotive Department was responsible for maintaining 57 vehicles ranging from gas-powered trucks to tractors. Since that time, the fleet has grown to include more than 800 vehicles, many of which run on lower emission biodiesel and several of which are high-efficiency plug-in electric cars and hybrid bucket trucks. Service and repair
involve students in the annual Water Color Project,
resources. Project AWESOME (Alternative
implement programs, practices and standards
a regional art contest that challenged high school
records once kept in handwritten logs are now
Water & Energy Supply, Observation,
that promoted sustainability throughout the
students to use conservation themes to decorate
tracked via high-tech software that communicates
Methods & Education) was designed to
Commission. Initiatives included expanding the
rain barrels. Meanwhile, fifth graders submitted
with a vehicle’s onboard computer to run
encourage good habits at an early age
recycling program and upgrading facilities with
water conservation drawings for a chance to be
diagnostics, schedule maintenance and assess
utilizing hands-on water and energy
energy-efficient lighting and light sensors; installing
featured in the annual Water Color Project calendar.
fuel consumption and performance. These
activities. The curriculum met Sunshine
rain sensors on irrigation systems; adjusting
advancements have helped OUC improve the
State Standards and reached about 6,000
thermostats; and forming a Green Team of
efficiency and safety of the fleet, lowering
fifth graders each year.
employee volunteers who worked to implement
emissions and maximizing the life of the vehicles,
hosted a series of “Reliably Green” community meetings to inform customers about conservation
personnel they carry. In 2006, OUC began using biodiesel fuel in its diesel fleet trucks. Made from renewable domestic resources — like fats used in cooking grease — biodiesel is a cleaner burning, lower emission alternative to pure petroleum diesel fuels. The B20 mix integrated seamlessly into OUC’s current fueling system while reducing carbon dioxide emissions by more than 15 percent. The Fleet Division also incorporated a number of other eco-conscious policies, using earth-friendly products and disposing of contaminated fuels according to environmental standards. Tires, batteries and oil filters were recycled through vendors, while freon, antifreeze and motor oil were handled on site. Water was recycled, too — thanks to mini-water treatment plants and wash racks at the Pershing and Gardenia facilities that kept OUC vehicles clean. OUC uses computers to run vehicle diagnostics.
practical, sustainable operations in their areas.
tips and rebate programs that could reduce their
Lighting Retrofit Program Since 2003, OUC has provided its Lighting Retrofit Program for commercial customers —
with Orange County Public Schools had installed
retrofitting indoor lighting systems with more
energy-saving fixtures at 30 schools for an annual
energy-efficient, cost-effective ones for projected
energy savings of 2.2 MWs and more than
energy savings of 65-70 percent.
$900,000 in energy costs. At participating schools,
In return for the new lights, customers pay off
OUC was the first
By 2010, OUC’s indoor lighting partnership
municipal utility in Florida to acquire a
OUC replaced old lighting fixtures with more
the equipment by reimbursing OUC with the
energy-efficient retrofits. The schools benefitted
money they save on their electric bills. The
immediately as the up-front costs were spread
payback period was typically three to four years.
over multiple billing periods. Best of all, the
plug-in hybrid that gets up to 99 mpg.
charges were balanced out by lower power bills.