Energy Education Grants

The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) is offering $20,000 in science and energy education grants to nonprofit organizations, schools and others in support of work to educate students in grades K through 12 about the energy systems of the Pacific Northwest

“Science, technology, engineering and math education is absolutely vital to the Pacific Northwest, and this program represents an investment in the future innovators and leaders in the energy industry,” said Elliot Mainzer, BPA administrator.

To find out more information and how to apply please visit: http://www.bpa.gov/news/newsroom/Pages/BPA-offering-20000-in-science-and-energy-education-grants-2014.aspx.

Consumers Power and the Bonneville Power Administration are also offering free classroom presentations in everything ranging from electrical safety to understanding the science and engineering that goes in to creating the power we use every day.  These presentations can be molded to fit any age group from K-12 and can be customized to fit the teacher’s needs.

Please contact Thomas Elzinga at Consumers Power at (541) 929-8532 or by email at thomase@cpi.coop for more information.

CPI Now Offering Heat Pump Water Heaters at a Low Cost

CPI is dedicated to keeping the cost of electricity affordable for our members.  To support that mission we are now carrying the GE Geospring Heat Pump Water Heater.  Members can purchase these units for $999 at our Philomath office.  There is also a $300 cash rebate available if certain criteria are met.

How do heat pump water heaters work?

Heat pump water heaters work like a refrigerator, but in reverse – while a refrigerator pushes heat from inside the unit out to the air around it, a heat pump water heaters pull warmth from the surrounding air and transfers it to the water in the storage tank.

Is it right for you?

Heat pump water heaters are ideal for homeowners looking to…

  • replace an old, inefficient electric water heater
  • lower household energy consumption
  • take control of how efficiently their hot water heater operates

While the purchase price for heat pump water heaters is higher than the average standard electric unit, current tax credits and rebates available, as well as reducing your water heating costs by up to 50%, make them an excellent value for your home.

Where can I install a heat pump water heater?

Heat pump water heaters can be installed in a variety of heated and unheated locations such as a garage, basement or utility room.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF AN EXISTING LOCATION

Many heat pump water heaters can be installed in the same spot as current standard electric water heaters.

Take advantage of existing connections (cold water supply, hot water outlet, electrical connection, temperature/pressure relief valve, and drain).

THINGS TO CONSIDER

  • Space – Units require at least 1,000 cubic feet of air-flow around them, this is the equivalent of 10′x10′x10′ of space
  • Sound – Heat pump water heaters generate sounds similar to an electric fan, this is simply the sound of energy-efficient hot water
  • Cold air – While in operation, heat pump water heaters release cool, dry air into the surrounding space
  • Size/height – Heat pump water heaters are slightly larger than standard electric water heaters

For more information contact our energy services department at 541-929-8520.

Washington, D.C. Youth Tour

Imagine standing on the steps the Lincoln Memorial or the solemn grounds of Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.  Consumers Power (CPI) will send one high school junior on the Washington,D.C., Youth Tour (WYT) June 12-20.  WYT allows you to focus on the rich history of our nation, from the heroes’ names etched on the Vietnam Veterans Wall to the stars representing fallen soldiers on the World War II Memorial. Besides touring Washington’s historic sites, students will discuss current issues with their representatives and senators. They also will meet students their age from across America. Students’ families must be full-time CPI members. The selected student will be required to speak about their trip at CPI’s annual meeting in September. All expenses will be paid. Call CPI for an application and information today. Deadline is January 23 at 5 p.m.

Students cannot be a member of the immediate family of an employee or director of CPI.

Consumers Power Charitable Trust Awards Second Round of Grants for 2013

The Consumers Power Charitable Trust gave $6,205 to seven non-profit organizations at its second meeting of the year on August 22.

Those receiving funds were

  • ABC house to purchase a new conference table
  • Coastal Range Food Bank for food purchases
  • Hamilton Creek School to purchase a Kindle for Language Arts class
  • Hand in Hand Farm for equine medical care
  • Independent Community Club for window re-glazing
  • Knights of Columbus to purchase sweatpants for injured soldiers and medical scrubs
  • Marine Corps Family Foundation to purchase supplies for Operation Santa

Individuals who are CPI members and non-profit organizations that provide services in the six counties where CPI provides electric service are eligible to apply for grants from the Charitable Trust.

CPI customers and employees fund the Charitable Trust by voluntarily rounding up their monthly electric bills. A volunteer committee of CPI members makes funding decisions.

The next meeting of the CPI Charitable Trust will be November 14. For an application or questions, call CPI at 541-929-8520 or write info@cpi.coop.

Safety Matters

Although seemingly innocent enough, putting signs or other items on utility poles creates serious safety hazards. Staples, nails, and tacks used to hang signs as well as the signs themselves, pose dangers to line workers who must climb poles when either restoring power following storms or while performing routine maintenance to ensure system reliability.

The nails and tacks left behind from signs can snag utility workers gloves and sleeves that they wear to work on high voltage lines and puncture the safety clothing making line workers vulnerable to electrocution.

Posters or other objects (birdhouses, balloons, flags, and even basketball nets) can also create dangerous obstacles as they themselves or the objects left behind from hanging them can cause problems for line workers.

Thank you for following these safety tips and helping to keep our CPI linemen safe!

Beware of Billing Scams

There have been increased incidences of scams targeting utility customers across the United States.

The scams generally involve attempts to illegally obtain payments for fictitious utility bills.

Individuals impersonating utility company representatives or collection agency personnel are utilizing a variety of techniques to gain access to customer’s funds, usually by indicating a customer has an outstanding debt and is about to immediately lose service.

If you ever receive a phone call like this, do not give any personal information over the phone. Always call CPI to verify. Reach us at 541-929-3124.

It’s a good Place to Be

The Good Place to Be showcases energy efficiency actions being taken by real people across the region, in their own words.

Find practical ways to reducing energy waste that have worked for others. You can even add your own stories! See more at cpi.goodplacetobe.com.

8-1-1 Gets Underground Utilities Located

Building a deck? Planting a tree? Installing a mailbox?

811 is the number you should call before you begin any digging project.

People often make risky assumptions about whether or not they should get their utility lines marked.

Every digging job requires a call – even small projects like planting trees or shrubs. If you hit an underground utility line while digging, you can harm yourself or those around you, disrupt service to an entire neighborhood and potentially be responsible for fines.

Dial 811 before every digging job gets your underground utility lines marked for free and helps prevent undesired consequences.

CPI Joins with Northwest RiverPartners for Hydropower Education Effort

In recognition of the tremendous value of the Columbia and Snake River System, CPI is partnering with a regional effort to educate people about the multiple benefits the rivers provide to the region’s economy.  An informational “CleanHydro” campaign features a new website, fact-based materials, two television ads and print ads. CPI is joining other utilities and users of the region’s rivers on the campaign, which is being coordinated by Northwest RiverPartners, an organization of river users with members in Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.

For information on the CleanHydro campaign, visit www.cleanhydro.com

Public opinion research shows a lack of understanding of the river system’s value to the Northwest’s economy. Many Northwest residents believe wind and solar technologies produce a much higher percentage of power than what is accurate. Younger generations know very little about the Columbia and Snake River System’s positive contributions. For example, surveys show that Northwest residents believe hydropower comprises 42 percent of the region’s power, while they think wind and solar combine for 11 percent. In reality, hydropower produces 60 percent of the region’s electricity, while solar and wind produce 4 percent. And in the Northwest, hydropower provides 90 percent of the region’s renewable energy.

“We are launching this effort to educate people that a great deal of important commerce flows from our Northwest rivers,” said Scott Corwin, Executive Director of the Public Power Council and also a co-chair of the CleanHydro campaign. “The fact that hydropower is the region’s premier renewable energy source is a compelling story to share,” Corwin added.

Examples of facts and benefits from the campaign:

  • Agriculture: Northwest rivers irrigate 7.8 million acres of farmland each year. Annual net earned income from Northwest agriculture production exceeds $8 billion.
  • Commerce: Over 50 million tons of commercial cargo, valued at over $20 billion, is moved down the Columbia and Snake Rivers annually. The Northwest is the nation’s number one exporter of wheat, barley and paper products. The Northwest river system provides over 100,000 jobs to the region.
  • Clean air: Barges on Northwest rivers keep 700,000 trucks off the highways each year. Because hydropower produces no carbon emissions, the Northwest’s carbon footprint is half that of other parts of the country.
  • Renewable: Hydropower provides nearly 90 percent of the Northwest’s renewable energy.
  • Energy: Northwest dams provide nearly 60 percent of the region’s electricity. It would take two nuclear, three coal-fired, or six gas-fired power plants to replace the average annual power produced by the four lower Snake River dams.
  • Flexible and reliable: Because the rivers are always flowing in the Northwest, hydropower is also used as a tool to back up intermittent generators such as wind or solar. Hydro generation can be quickly adjusted to follow changes in wind production and keep the transmission system reliable.
  • Flood control: Prior to the federal dams on the Columbia and Willamette rivers, Portland and other cities were subject to severe flooding. Controlling flood waters became a high priority in 1948 when Vanport, Oregon, was destroyed in a late spring deluge. A 1964 treaty with Canada led to the development of millions of acre-feet of water storage for flood control and power generation. Estimates show that flood control operations in February 1996 saved $3.2 billion to the Portland metropolitan area in what otherwise would have been devastating flood damage.
  • Recreation: The reservoirs formed by dams provide Northwest residents with abundant waterways for boating, fishing, water-related sports and cruises. Tourism from river cruise ships alone brings $15 to $20 million annually to local Northwest economies.

About Northwest RiverPartners: Northwest RiverPartners is an alliance of over 120 farmers, utilities, ports and small and large businesses that relies on and promotes the economic and environmental benefits of the Columbia and Snake Rivers, and fish and wildlife policies and programs based on sound science. RiverPartners’ member organizations represent more than four million electric utility customers, 40,000 farmers and thousands of port employees that provide hundreds of thousands of Northwest jobs.

For information on the CleanHydro campaign, visit www.cleanhydro.com

CPI Plans for 2013 System Improvements

CPI has plans for a number of distribution and transmission pole replacements this year.  

“Thirty transmission poles, many in difficult access areas, have been identified as needing replacement due to decay or damage,” says Greg Pierce, CPI Director of Operations.  “Another 110 distribution poles have been identified as needing replacement due to decay or damage.”

Approximately 8,700 feet of underground cable will be replaced system wide. These cable sections were installed in the 1970’s and have shorted and failed many times resulting in power outages. Some of the underground cable sections that will be replaced are in subdivisions in Lebanon, South Albany and North Corvallis.

“In addition, approximately 16,200 feet of underground cable will be refurbished using an insulating fluid injection system. This cable treatment has proven to be a cost effective way to prolong the life of underground cables meeting certain criteria,” according to Greg without having to do a total replacement.

When an outage is required for the work to be done, CPI will notify customers by postcard or a phone call.