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Energize Connecticut Announces 12th Annual eesmarts™ Statewide Student Contest

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Jan 122016

Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 2.07.42 AMEversource and The United Illuminating Company, as partners of the Energize Connecticut initiative, are now accepting entries for the 12th annual eesmarts Student Contest. The contest encourages students to demonstrate their knowledge of energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainability by completing grade-specific assignments. The deadline for entries is April 1, 2016.

The eesmarts Student Contest is open to Connecticut students in Grades K-12. Additionally, new to the program this year is a college level playwright category entitled “Wright the World,” and a new separate 12th grade category. Finalists in all categories and grade levels will be honored at a special awards ceremony on April 29, 2016 at the State Capitol in Hartford.

“Over the past 11 years, we have encouraged students across the state to demonstrate their understanding of smart energy with creativity and to develop sustainable solutions that help our environment,” said Bill Dornbos, Chairperson of the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Board and also with the Acadia Center. “We are excited to be able to expand the contest this year to include college students.”

The new “Wright the World” category invites college students, enrolled in a two or four year college or university in Connecticut, to write a 25-30 minute play that supports the eesmarts curriculum and mission. The play should be written for a young audience, preferably Grades K-5. It must explain how energy is made, identify energy resources, clarify what it means to be energy-efficient and sustainable, and provide examples of energy-efficient technology. The winner of this category will receive $500 and have the opportunity to cast and perform the play during the 2016-2017 academic year at schools and/or educational centers across Connecticut.

Students in Grade 12 will compete in a new category that challenges them to create a persuasive image that advocates for energy conservation, an alternate energy source, or an environmental concern, and showcases their knowledge of this subject area. Entries, which can be a short poem, cartoon or 30-second video, will be evaluated based on scientific validity, and concise and convincing imagery.

Students in Grades 9-11 compete in the community service-learning project award category, which asks students to propose a community-based project to address an energy-related issue. Students may work in groups of five members or less in this category and winners’ schools will receive eesmarts program funding of $1,500 for first place, $1,000 for second place and $500 for third place to make their proposed project a reality during the next school year.

Students in grades K-8 answer grade-level specific prompts in the form of a poster (Grades K-2), narrative (Grade 3), news article (Grade 4), book review (Grade 5), essay (Grade 6), speech (Grade 7), or public service announcement (Grade 8).

For grade levels K-12, first prize winners will also receive a $200 Amazon Gift Card, second prize winners a $100 Amazon Gift Card, and third prize winners a $50 Amazon Gift Card.

For more information about the contest, visit www.eesmarts.com/contest

BREAKING: Orange Firefighters Respond To House Fire On Avon Drive Sunday Morning

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Feb 152015

avon house fireOrange Volunteer Firefighters were called to 637 Avon Drive around 5:30 a.m. for a structure fire.

When first responders arrived an elderly couple had already fled the house and was safely inside a vehicle.

Other fire apparatus and firefighters quickly arrived within 4 minutes and  set up near a fire hydrant.

The temperature was near 18-degrees f, but winds surely made it feel much colder.

Medic 33, the UI, and the Woodbridge Volunteer Fire Department RIT (Rapid Intervention Team) all were called to the scene.

(This story was developing as Orange Live was reporting it)

Turns out that it was a garage fire.

Second Fire Call On Sunday

At 11:22 a.m. the Fire Dept responded to 111 Cricket Lane for a fire inside the wall.

The residents evacuated the home before firefighters arrived.

What’s The Hold Up?: The UI’s Power Restoration Priority List

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Feb 082013

The UI Outage Map

If you look out your window, you will see that the snow already has begun to accumulate. The UI was preparing for this storm yesterday, with workers up on the poles doing preventive maintenance work.

As of 8:20 there are NO power outages in UI Land, but if you do lose power it’s important to know how the company decides which areas get priority attention.

From the UI Website:

Service restoration depends on the magnitude and duration of the storm or other event causing the service interruptions. UI’s general sequence of service restoration is:

First Priority

  • Public safety requires the de-energizing or cutting down of downed primary voltage distribution lines, including road clearing.
  • Restoration of service to previously designated public emergency service institutions such as major hospitals, evacuation centers, as prioritized by municipal officials.

Second Priority

  • Service restoration to a maximum number of customers in a minimum amount of time using available work forces. This usually involves the removal of trees and limbs, the bypassing of some damaged equipment and the re-energizing of primary voltage distribution lines.

Third Priority

  • The repair and restoration of equipment and lines serving small groups of customers.

Fourth Priority

  • Although the restoration of service lines to individual homes or buildings is designated as Priority 4, they will in most cases be done at the same time as other restoration work designated with a higher priority. This is accomplished by using crews not normally associated with distribution restoration work.

In some cases, storms may damage electrical equipment on a customer’s property that’s not part of UI’s electrical system. It is the customer’s responsibility to repair this damage before we can restore service. The pamphlet linked below may be able to help you determine who is responsible for repairing damaged equipment.

United Illuminating Receives Emergency Response Award for Recovery

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Jan 112013

James P. Torgerson

For the second consecutive year, the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) has honored The United Illuminating Company and its parent company, UIL Holdings Corporation with its Emergency Response Award for Recovery.

This award recognizes UI’s planning and successful restoration of customers after Hurricane Sandy in 2012. UI won a similar EEI award last year, in recognition of its restoration efforts following Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.

UI also received a 2012 EEI Assistance Award for the work UI crews did with assisting other states and utilities restore power during the Derecho in Maryland and Washington D.C. in July of 2012 when winds of 60 – 80 mph left more than one million customers in the dark.

“The fact that we have now been presented with three major awards from EEI in two years’ time is a testament to the hard work of our employees and our partners during the severe weather events of 2011 and 2012,” said James P. Torgerson, UI and UIL’s president and chief executive officer. “I am tremendously proud of the men and women of UI.”

Hurricane Sandy, which struck Oct. 29, 2012, was one of the largest and most destructive Atlantic hurricanes on record, causing significant damage to UI’s electric system and leaving wide areas of the company’s territory without electric service.

During the lead-up and response to the storm, UI benefitted greatly from what it learned during Irene to restore electric service to all customers safely and swiftly, activating its newly updated emergency plan and employing a “forward-leaning” strategy that had just been freshly tested in a statewide drill in July.

When Hurricane Sandy arrived, UI greeted it with 700 staff and contract field personnel, mobilized and ready to begin restoring service. Thanks to UI’s pro-active planning and updated strategy, this initial field force was larger than the peak field staffing that UI staged after Irene. The field force eventually swelled to approximately 1,200 as mutual assistance crews poured in from as far away as Canada and Missouri.

UI worked directly with municipal leaders and first-responders to ensure roadways were clear of hazards, and to restore local priorities such as hospitals and emergency shelters.

Meanwhile, it used multiple communications channels to ensure customers and stakeholders had the information they needed when it became available. It deployed an automated calling system to reach out to vulnerable medical hardship customers, and engaged other customers via both traditional and social media, issuing storm instructions, readiness tips and other proactive messages.

In the end, UI was able to restore electric service to virtually all of its customers — excluding those who could not accept service — within eight days of the storm, ahead of all stated goals.

Torgerson noted that UI itself has benefitted from mutual assistance on several occasions, including Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.

“We understand how important it is to get electric service back on quickly and safely after a devastating storm,” he said.

Thursday Police Briefing: Restoration Continues, Safety Reiterated, Extended Dump Hours

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Nov 012012

UI and Highway Department trucks out on the road Thursday afternoon.

Town Highway and UI continue to work together to restore power.  UI reports that restoration will begin on Friday.  There may be periods of outages while power is being restored.  Travel can still be difficult.  Be aware of low hanging wires and branches. Use caution at intersections as traffic controls may be out.  Report new power outages to UI at 1-800-722-5584.

Continue to use generators in a safe manner.  Generators should be at least 20 feet from the home.  They should not be covered. They should never be used indoors or in open garages.  Residents should not overload the generator with extension cords.  Cords can become hot and cause a fire.   Residents on generator power can cause damage to power lines if the main switch in their home is not off.

Residents should use extreme caution when using chainsaws or other tree clearing tools.  Always be aware of wires and other people when clearing debris. Trees may have been weakened by the storm and can fall when working beneath.

Perishable food left unrefrigerated for an extended time should be discarded as it may be unsafe to eat.

Dump hours have been extended to Sunday 830 to 430 for leaves and storm debris.  The Public Works Department will pick up storm debris cut to 6-8 foot lengths at curbside through middle of November.

The Emergency Shelter at High Plains Community Center is open.  Showers and Charging stations are available 24 hours a day.  Residents should bring their own toiletries, bedding and medications.  Pets are welcome.

Residents can elect to receive these messages via cell phone, text or email by visiting ctalert.gov.

Please be safe during this recovery period.

From Our Readers, Who’s On, Who’s Off?

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Nov 012012

Our readers have been keeping us updated on their power status on Facebook.

This is what they are saying:

Timberlane Drive, Old Silo, Northwood, Tyler City Road, Dogwood Road, Charles Court, Christian Circle, Boston Post Road, Pleasant Hill, Old Tavern Near the Post, and Pinetree have power.

Carriage Drive never lost power.

And at last check, Racebrook Road, Howellton Road, Peck Lane, Turkey Hill,  Rail Fence, Currier Drive,  Ridge Road, Grassy Hill near the country club, Woodland Lane, Quarter Mile Road, Wellington, Manley Heights, Augusta, Treat, Rainbow Trail, Red Fox, South Greenbrier,  and Indian Hill Road, all are still powerless.

UI: Uses Energy Wisely, Earns The LEED Gold Designation

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Oct 082012

A press release from the United Illuminating Company

The United Illuminating Company’s new administrative and operations facilities in Orange have been awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) “Gold” designation, the company announced today.

The LEED Gold designation means the two recently constructed UI facilities off Marsh Hill Road in Orange meet U.S. Green Building Council standards in a variety of categories, including energy and water efficiency; materials and resources; and indoor environmental quality.

“At UI, we encourage our customers to use energy wisely and respect the environment. We believe in practicing what we preach,” said Anthony J. Vallillo, executive vice president and chief operating officer of UI’s parent company, UIL Holdings Corporation.

“These facilities were built with sustainability in mind from the beginning. The sound choices we made during the design and construction process benefit the environment and reduce energy consumption. They will also result in lower long-term operating costs, benefiting ratepayers.”

The two buildings, which house approximately 1,100 UI and UIL employees, opened in April following two years of construction. Energy efficiency features incorporated into the facilities’ design are expected to reduce the company’s electricity usage by approximately 2.3 million kilowatt-hours a year.

“This LEED Gold designation from the U.S. Green Building Council acknowledges the years of hard work and meticulous planning that went into this project,” said Ed Drew, UI’s senior director of corporate projects, who oversaw the Central Facility effort. “I am extremely proud of the Central Facility team.”

Following are some of the facilities’ features:

• Construction: Recovered demolition debris and other materials already on the building site were used extensively as fill during the construction process, reducing the need to haul materials to and from the site by the equivalent of approximately 3,500 truckloads.

• Building Efficiency: The facilities’ roofs are reflective to reduce penetration of solar heat. Windows feature efficient polarized glass, and exterior solar shades overhang windows to reduce the intrusion of solar heat during the cooling season.

• Renewable Energy: Electricity needs are provided either by renewable energy as part of Connecticut’s Renewable Portfolio Standard requirements, or offset through the purchase of renewable energy certificates.

• Lighting: Work areas are positioned near windows to make use of natural light. The efficient lighting system employs sensors to detect natural light and adjusts accordingly.

• Ventilation: “Raised-floor” ventilation is employed throughout the buildings to augment the efficiency of the heating and cooling systems.

• Transportation: The buildings are in the center of UI’s territory and convenient to public transportation. Shuttle buses provide service to West Haven and New Haven. Motorcycle parking and bike racks are available in each building.

• Parking: Parking spaces are reserved for high-mileage conventional vehicles, electric and hybrid cars, as well as car- and van-pool vehicles.

• Recycling: Single-stream recycling is in use throughout the facilities. Bins at each workstation collect all recyclable materials, which are sorted after collection.

• Water Efficiency: Bathrooms employ “low flow” facilities that reduce overall water used. Landscaping features native plants that do not require additional irrigation.

• Indoor Air Quality: Smoking is prohibited on all building grounds, improving indoor air quality and reducing exposure to harmful second-hand smoke.