Utilities Get Customers Ready for Winter
By John McMalcolm
As winter approaches, many households across the country are becoming concerned about energy costs.
Energy consumption is usually higher during the winter months because heaters are constantly running and people are spending more time indoors. Utility companies are taking various measures to help households save energy and lower their utility bills.
So just how are utility providers getting their customers ready for the coming winter?
Educating Customers about Energy Conservation
Energy conservation is becoming increasingly vital nowadays. Conserving energy does not only help households save on energy costs; it also gives them an opportunity to contribute to the betterment of the environment and build a sustainable future.
In order to encourage their customers to practice energy conservation, utility companies are offering incentives and rebates for a wide range of energy-saving measures. They are also organizing campaigns to raise awareness of the importance of conserving energy.
Offering Energy Saving Tips
There are numerous ways households can reduce their energy consumption during winter.
Utility companies are providing clear instructions on how to save energy through their websites and newsletters to help households cut down on their utility bills.
Some of these tips include:
• Invest in a programmable thermostat.
• Set your thermostat to a lower temperature and dress more warmly.
• Make sure your furnace and heating system are properly maintained.
• Open draperies, blinds and shades during daytime to admit sunlight into your home, which can reduce heating costs.
• Use plastic sheeting to improve the energy-efficiency of windows.
• Refrain from using exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom as much as possible, because they can remove heated air from your home.
• Exterior walls, floors, crawl spaces, basement and attic should be properly insulated.
• Inspect caulking, weatherstripping and seals around all doors and windows to ensure that there are no holes and cracks.
• When you are not using the fireplace, close the damper.
•Set the temperature of your water heater to between 115 and 120 degrees.
• Drain sediment from your water heater at least once a year.
• Insulate your hot water pipes.
• Use a low-flow shower head.
• Use energy-efficient appliances.
Using Social Media to Reach Out to Customers
Utility companies are always looking for new ways to communicate more effectively and efficiently with their customers, and many of them have joined the social media world.
They are constantly sharing written content and videos on various social media websites to encourage their customers to reduce energy use in their homes and adopt green lifestyles.
Additionally, some of them are providing emergency broadcast service to notify their customers of emergency situations such as power outages.
With all that wintertime can bring with it, utility companies will be doing all they can not to leave customers out in the cold.
About the Author: John McMalcolm is a freelance writer who writes on a wide range of subjects, from energy efficiency tips to reviews of products such as programmable thermostats and gutter guards.
Major move forward for UK’s nascent marine energy sector
Although the industry is small and the technologies are limited, marine-based energy systems look to be taking off as “the world’s most powerful tidal turbine” begins grid-connected power generation at the European Marine Energy Centre.
At around 74 metres long, the turbine single-handedly holds the potential to supply the annual electricity demand to approximately 2,000 homes within the UK and offset 2,200 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Orbital Marine Power, a privately held Scottish-based company, announced the turbine is set to operate for around 15 years in the waters surrounding Orkney, Scotland, where the 2-megawatt O2 turbine weighing around 680 metric tons will be linked to a local on-land electricity network via a subsea cable.
How optimistic is the outlook for the UK’s turbine bid?
Described as a “major milestone for O2” by CEO of Orbital Marine Power Andrew Scott, the turbine will also supply additional power to generate ‘green hydrogen’ through the use of a land-based electrolyser in the hopes it will demonstrate the “decarbonisation of wider energy requirements.”
“Our vision is that this project is the trigger to the harnessing of tidal stream resources around the world to play a role in tackling climate change whilst creating a new, low-carbon industrial sector,” says Scott in a statement.
The Scottish Government has awarded £3.4 million through the Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund to support the project’s construction, while public lenders also contributed to the financial requirements of the tidal turbine through the ethical investment platform Abundance Investment.
“The deployment of Orbital Marine Power’s O2, the world’s most powerful tidal turbine, is a proud moment for Scotland and a significant milestone in our journey to net zero,” says Michael Matheson, the Cabinet Secretary for Net-Zero, Energy and Transport for the Scottish Government.
“With our abundant natural resources, expertise and ambition, Scotland is ideally placed to harness the enormous global market for marine energy whilst helping deliver a net-zero economy.
“That’s why the Scottish Government has consistently supported the marine energy sector for over 10 years.”
However, Orbital Marine CEO Scott believes there’s potential to commercialise the technology being used in the project with the prospect of working towards more efficient and advanced marine energy projects in the future.
“We believe pioneering our vision in the UK can deliver on a broad spectrum of political initiatives across net-zero, levelling up and building back better at the same time as demonstrating global leadership in the area of low carbon innovation that is essential to creating a more sustainable future for the generations to come.”
The UK’s growing marine energy endeavours
This latest tidal turbine project isn’t a first for marine energy in the UK. The Port of London Authority permitted the River Thames to become a temporary home for trials into tidal energy technology and, more recently, a research project spanning the course of a year is set to focus on the potential tidal, wave, and floating wind technology holds for the future efficiency of renewable energy. The research is due to take place off of the Southwest coast of England on the Isles of Scilly