UtilitiesUniversity of CincinnatiDivision of Administration and FinanceUtilities


July 2020 News

COVID‐19 has dominated much of the recent news in and around Utilities for the last several months.  Utilities played a significant role in the first wave of campus actions to protect our teammatesfrom this virus, and today we continue the battle to keep this virus out of our power plants and away from our families. Please see the link below to access current Utilities policies and protective actions in our fight against this pandemic.


Unwanted Visitors 

Typically, we welcome visitors with open arms, but in the case of the visitors in the pictures below, these caused us some unfortunate problems one night in late June.  It seems we have been harboring a family of raccoons in the Rochelle Substation, and on that particular June evening one came a little too close to high voltage equipment.  While the raccoon did not fare well, campus did not do so well either.   Both east and west campuslost power as a result.  Power wasrestored quickly thanksto the efforts of Utilities and Facilities Maintenance electrician teammates who responded to this urgency.


EUP Chiller #4 Installation 

A third new chiller has been installed at the East Utility Plant this spring.  This chiller takes the place (and location) of the old Chiller #4.    Like the two chillers installed in the spring/summer of 2019, this chiller is a latest technology “smart” Smardt magnetic bearing chiller, also with a 2400 ton capacity.    This chiller brings EUP to a total of 7200 tons of production capacity that is magnetic bearing technology, six compressors per chiller, capable of multiple operating platforms, high efficiency performance, and if desired smart phone control capability. Attached are pictures of the chiller and its installation.


Utility Plant History 

If you have been around the Central Plant main office area recently you have noticed we are undergoing significant changes, new furniture, new walls, new carpet (black and red – thanks Debbie!), and of course something old – plant pictures.  Pictures of the “history” of the University’s power plants are now hanging in some places, with more to follow.   Attached are some of those pictures for those who have not seen firsthand.    If you are aware of any old power plant pictures we would love to have copies of them. Please let me know if you do happen to have or know someone who might have old pictures.


AEE Institutional Energy Management Award 

University of Cincinnati Utilities was recently awarded the “AEE Excellence in Institutional Energy Management Award” from the Southwest Ohio Chapter.  This is quite an honor bestowed upon our utility, and it is the result of the tremendous efforts of every one of our teammates including those that came along before us today. My many thanks to everyone for making this recognition possible!

AEE Award

Utilities Personnel 

Utilities welcomesthree new Co‐ops.  Duncan Poehner (Mechanical Engineering), Hannah Halsey (Environmental Engineering), and Andrew Naughton (Electrical Engineering) all joined our group beginning in May.  

We congratulate Matt Branscum on his Ten Year Service Anniversary with UC.   Pictured at left is Matt receiving his award from Tony Klousis.


Current Events 

Spring and summer have seen a significant amount of work occur at both plants.  The chiller installation above was just the tip of the iceberg.  During this time period we also kicked off an engineering study of the East Utility Plant to identify work that is required over the next five to ten years to modernize the plant and equipment, and to insure the plant is operating at peak performance for many years to come.  This study is expected to take six months or longer to complete.

Change is seemingly constant at the Central Plant as well.  Plant water softeners have been removed, and have been replaced with a “mixed bed deionizing system” which delivers high purity water ten‐fold in purity than that previously produced.  Within the next few weeks, the bisulfite feed system will be removed also, and replaced with an activated charcoal system to insure the removal of chlorine from water before it enters the Reverse Osmosis membranes.

Both Utility plants have moved from pencil and paper to a completely electronic process of recording operating data.    Since late May, instead of a clipboard and pencil, our operations teammates are carrying a Microsoft Surface tablet with them, and entering every value directly into cloud based software (Versify Logbook) that enables both permanent and easily accessed operating data, but the capability to utilize this data for many purposes over time.

Please take a few minutes and visit the Utilities website, which continues to undergo change.  Please be sure to revisit regularly to catch all of the changes underway!

I happened to come across some old pictures of the last “pandemic” we as a country experienced.  Here are some memories from that time…..look familiar at all?