OUC History Book

Page 61

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

carbon emissions.

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

energy efficient.

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.

Page 56

Page 57