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.
Itronics successfully tests manganese recovery process
Itronics - a Nevada-based emerging cleantech materials growth company that manufacturers fertilisers and produces silver - has successfully tested two proprietary processes that recover manganese, with one process recovering manganese, potassium and zinc from paste produced by processing non-rechargeable alkaline batteries. The second recovers manganese via the company’s Rock Kleen Technology.
Manganese, one of the four most important industrial metals and widely used by the steel industry, has been designated by the US Federal Government as a "critical mineral." It is a major component of non-rechargeable alkaline batteries, one of the largest battery categories sold globally.
The use of manganese in EV batteries is increasing as EV battery technology is shifting to use of more nickel and manganese in battery formulations. But according to the US Department of Interior, there is no mine production of manganese in the United States. As such, Itronics is using its Rock Kleen Technology to test metal recoverability from mine tailings obtained from a former silver mine in western Nevada that has a high manganese content.
In a statement, Itronics says that its Rock Kleen process recovers silver, manganese, zinc, copper, lead and nickel. The company says that it has calculated – based on laboratory test results – that if a Rock Kleen tailings process is put into commercial production, the former mine site would become the only primary manganese producer in the United States.
Itronics adds that it has also tested non-rechargeable alkaline battery paste recovered by a large domestic battery recycling company to determine if it could use one of its hydrometallurgical processes to solubilize the manganese, potassium, and zinc contained in the paste. This testing was successful, and Itronics was able to produce material useable in two of its fertilisers, it says.
"We believe that the chemistry of the two recovery processes would lend itself to electrochemical recovery of the manganese, zinc, and other metals. At this time electrochemical recovery has been tested for zinc and copper,” says Dr John Whitney, Itronics president.
“Itronics has been reviewing procedures for electrochemical recovery of manganese and plans to move this technology forward when it is appropriate to do so and has acquired electro-winning equipment needed to do that.
"Because of the two described proprietary technologies, Itronics is positioned to become a domestic manganese producer on a large scale to satisfy domestic demand. The actual manganese products have not yet been defined, except for use in the Company's GOLD'n GRO Multi-Nutrient Fertilisers. However, the Company believes that it will be able to produce chemical manganese products as well as electrochemical products," he adds.
Itronics’ research and development plant is located in Reno, about 40 miles west of the Tesla giga-factory. Its planned cleantech materials campus, which will be located approximately 40 miles south of the Tesla factory, would be the location where the manganese products would be produced.
Panasonic is operating one of the world's largest EV battery factories at the Tesla location. However, Tesla and other companies have announced that EV battery technology is shifting to use of nickel-manganese batteries. Itronics is positioned and located to become a Nevada-0based supplier of manganese products for battery manufacturing as its manganese recovery technologies are advanced, the company states.
A long-term objective for Itronics is to become a leading producer of high purity metals, including the U.S. critical metals manganese and tin, using the Company's breakthrough hydrometallurgy, pyrometallurgy, and electrochemical technologies. ‘Additionally, Itronics is strategically positioned with its portfolio of "Zero Waste Energy Saving Technologies" to help solve the recently declared emergency need for domestic production of Critical Minerals from materials located at mine sites,’ the statement continues.
The Company's growth forecast centers upon its 10-year business plan designed to integrate its Zero Waste Energy Saving Technologies and to grow annual sales from $2 million in 2019, to $113 million in 2025.