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Utilities

March 2020 News

UC Utilities Response to COVID-19

As with most everyone in the city, state, country, and world, the most important thing on our minds right now is COVID-19.  This has impacted everyone at the University and the UC Utilities.

Please be assured we are all doing everything we can to insure the safety of our employees and families.  These actions include working twelve hour shifts to reduce the number of days spent in the plant, with Operations working seven days on and then off for seven days.  Several teammates are working from home exclusively, and some are working a reduced hours per week schedule. 

In addition, we have for the most part eliminated non Utilities personnel from entering our plants, with only the most urgent of work requiring outside resources is being performed.  Every individual entering our plants must sign a statement that says this individual has not been in an area declared to be a “hot zone” or has knowingly encountered an individual who is suspected to have this virus. 

Our employees are staying home from work if they are sick, or feeling sick.  Everyone who enters one of the plants is required to have their temperature taken to insure no one enters the building with a temperature above 100 degrees.

Utilities has procured additional soap and hand sanitizer, and is working diligently to insure that our workplace is virus free.  Each individual is asked to insure to practice the behaviors recommended by the CDC to insure that passage of the virus is prevented.

We ask that all employees, their families, and anyone who does come into our buildings do everything they can to help stop the spread of this virus.

IDEA Campus Energy 2020 Utility Award

UC Utilities submission to IDEA’s Campus Energy 2020 Video Contest has won first place!

In the words of IDEA Program Manager Emily Riskalla “Your video clearly communicates the importance of your campus district energy system in providing energy efficiency, enhanced environmental protection, fuel flexibility and reliability at the University of Cincinnati.”

My thanks to all who took the time to vote for UC Utilities.  The winner was selected primarily based on content, with secondary criteria coming from social media.

The broad network of support for UC is clearly demonstrated in the response we received.  It is most satisfying to hear the comments of many who voted, and took the time to reach out to me through the course of voting.  

We accept this award on behalf of the UC Community.  It is only through the actions of everyone who calls the University Campus “home” that the comments from Emily Riskella above can be made.

My thanks for everything that has been done, and more importantly for everything that is yet to come in our efforts “to provide energy efficiency and reliable utilities at the University of Cincinnati. "

IDEA Award

Pictured from left to right: Sid Thatham, Alex Rodrigues, and Danielle Kastor accept the Campus Energy 2020 Award on behalf of UC Utilities at the IDEA Campus Energy 2020 Conference in Denver, Colorado. Presenting the award at far right is Robert Thornton, President and CEO of IDEA.

IDEAAward

Campus Energy 2020 Award Presented to the University of Cincinnati.

 

Utilities Personnel

Several employee service anniversaries were recognized during the first quarter of 2020. The following Utility employees achieved the below listed service awards!

All pictures show various members of the UC Utilities team receiving service awards for their dedication.

Personnel1

Austen Trentman – 5 Years

Personnel2

Dwayne Mosley – 5 Years

P3

Carter Fields – 10 Years

P4

Tracey Quintanilla – 10 Years

P4

Al Wauligman – 10 Years  | Joe Allen – 10 Years

Safety Committee

Efforts continue to communicate to vision of this group, which emphasizes the importance of “think before you act” in making sure to always “Keep Safety First”.

One of the first programs implemented to make this happen was to place Safety Idea/Recommendation Forms in each plant control room.  In just the first month we had seven recommendations submitted, all received action, and four were completed as recommended!  This is a great start, and we are working to keep momentum going.

Environmental/Sustainability

UC has completed its summation of carbon emissions for the most recent fiscal year.  Since 2009, Utilities has reduced its annual carbon emission by 67,000 tons, or 25%.  This reduction exemplifies the University’s continued efforts to reduce carbon emissions.  Please be sure to watch for this report!

Current Events

There is a tremendous amount of activity underway in our campus plants.  The East Plant Thermal Storage Tank (chilled water) is being inspected, with sediment and waste removed while still holding water.  In the two weeks this has been occurring a significant amount of material has been removed from the bottom of this 3,000,000 gallon tank.  Unfortunately, inspection has shown that there is damage to areas of the concrete floor that will need to be addressed.

Moving forward technology and sustainability wise, Utilities is in the process of implementing a digital log book.  This technology “advancement” will eliminate paper log sheets going forward, and enable all of our recorded data to be managed and saved electronically, creating a “permanent” and usable record of our operations.  This system is expected to be fully implemented by mid-April.

In parallel, Utilities in conjunction with A&F Financial Services has initiated the automation and digitization of our energy metering and billing processes.  This work will eliminate forty plus hours of manual activity monthly, increasing accuracy and timeliness of billing, and provide both groups as well as our customer base direct electronic access to not only their billing activity but close to real time knowledge of their energy usage.

Work continues on installation of a third new, 2400 Ton capacity chiller in our East Plant.  It is our expectation that this new equipment will be in operation by June 1st, unfortunately the daily changing limitations created by the COVID-19 pandemic will likely challenge that schedule significantly.

The Utilities website continues to undergo change.  Please be sure to revisit regularly to catch all of the changes underway!

That wraps up for now, at least for the month of March.  Please stay tuned for updates to the many exciting things happening in UC Utilities.