Customer Newsletter

Safely and effectively manage your home’s energy supply with these helpful tips from Orrville Utilities!

Have Fun, Stay Safe

The neighborhood is full of adventures for our kids. But some places should never be part of an adventure.

Overhead power lines, substations, and other electrical equipment should never be considered part of the neighborhood playground. Children should never climb utility poles or trees that are growing into power lines.

Remind your children to keep out of substations and away from utility equipment. Call us if a kite, ball, or other toy is in power lines or utility facilities.

At Orrville Utilities, we are working to keep you and your children safe.

Let an Electric Lawnmower Power Your Yard

As you prepare for another season of yard work, are you in the market for a new lawnmower?

If so, you may wish to consider purchasing an electric lawnmower. Available in cordless and corded models, electric mowers have a number of advantages over traditional gasoline-powered push mowers. Electric lawnmowers are easy to start, quieter, and cost only a few dollars annually to operate. Maintenance is simple, too—no spark plugs, oil, gas, or tune-ups are necessary.

Electric lawnmowers make half the noise of conventional mowers, and start with the touch of a button. (No more pull starts!) Cordless, rechargeable mowers have enough power to mow up to half an acre on a single charge. That means that 75% of all yards mowed with gas mowers could be mowed with a cordless electric model instead.

Electric lawnmowers are available at many hardware stores.

Understanding the “Ups and Downs” of Electricity Use

You may find that your electric rates vary with each bill. Many factors determine your level of energy use from month to month.

Have you been on vacation? If so, you've used the lights and appliances in your home less than usual.

Have you had houseguests? That can mean more lights on, more water to heat, bigger and more elaborate meals to cook, and perhaps more laundry than usual, too.

And, of course, changes in the weather can result in higher costs for home heating and cooling.

It's likely that a big increase in your bill is only temporary.

Clear the Way!

Guard dogs, bushes, fences all these can be obstacles to our meter readers. When we visit your home, can we get to your utility meter?

It is important that our meter reader can reach your meters so we can determine your energy use. If you can't get to your meter, neither can we.

Barriers can be hazardous, as well as inconvenient. Please trim bushes in front of your meters and make arrangements, if necessary, so our meter reader can access your meter.

We Battle Winter Storms to Keep Your Lights On

In the winter, snow and ice buildup on trees and wires can interfere with your electric service. It can cause tree limbs to snap and fall on power lines. The good news is that you can help us prevent power outages—tell us about trees growing near power lines, and we can trim them before a storm hits.

In the event that power goes out due to a winter storm, rest assured that our crews will work hard to restore your power as soon as possible.

At Orrville Utilities, we work very hard to provide reliable electricity to you every season.

Protect Your Investment & Stop the Surge

DVD players, computers, and many other electronic gadgets have become household necessities—and investments. However, they are particularly susceptible to power surges. Lightning, even when striking far from your home, may cause momentary increases in voltage, despite the protections built into our utility system. Surges can also result from other factors inside or outside your home.

Delicate electronic components can be destroyed by large surges. The cheapest way to protect equipment is to unplug it during storms or power outages. However, this can be impossible if you are not at home.

A more reliable option is a surge protector, which plugs into an outlet, shielding items plugged into it. Surge protectors absorb stray voltage, preventing it from reaching electronic devices so your items will stay safe.

Electricity: From Us to You

You probably take electricity for granted. You plug into an outlet or flip a switch, and there it is, but that electricity had a complex journey before it reached you.

The trip began at the power plant, where electricity was created from another source of energy, such as fossil fuels, wind, solar energy, or even nuclear power. From the plant, electricity was routed at high voltage over transmission lines to your neighborhood. Power arrived at a substation where the voltage was reduced before being delivered over smaller distribution lines to your home and local businesses.

Although electricity has a complex journey, it is a rapid one, as electricity must be used almost as soon as it is created. We keep power flowing through this complex network so that you can take your electricity for granted.

Call Before You Dig

Planning yard work this summer? Before you do, remember that utility services of all sorts are often provided by underground lines.

Damaging or disturbing underground utilities can cause power outages in your neighborhood. Worse, you could be seriously hurt.

Call  OUPS at 811 or 1-800-734-6366  any time you plan to dig on your property. This will help you avoid underground utility surprises.

Landscaping? Be Power-Wise When You Plant!

Planning a new look for your yard? If so, please consider the location of utility equipment before you start planting:

• Leave enough space around electrical equipment to allow for easy service access.

• Don't plant trees that will grow into power lines. Select a site away from wires, or only plant trees that will grow no more than 20 feet tall.

Make sure your meter will still be accessible to our meter readers.

A Downed Wire is a Dangerous Wire

Baseball, picnics, and swimming pools are all part of the hot and hazy days of summer. Unfortunately, so are thunderstorms and the power outages and damaged power lines they sometimes bring when high winds blow tree limbs into wires.

At Orrville Utilities, we’re committed to protecting you from the hazards that downed power lines present. Call us immediately to report downed wires at (330) 684-5140.

Stay safe by following these simple rules when you encounter downed wires:

• Assume any downed wires are "live", and avoid them completely.

• Keep children and pets away from downed power lines.

If a power line hits your car, stay in the vehicle unless it catches fire. If your car catches fire, jump clear without touching the car and ground at the same time. 
If someone is touching a power line, don't try to rescue them. Trying to pull a shock victim away could shock you, too. Instead, call for emergency help.

Help Our Line Workers Keep the Power On

Want to help our line workers keep your power on? Don't put announcements and other notices on utility poles. Posters and other notices stapled or nailed to utility poles make a line worker's job even more difficult and dangerous. Staples and nails damage protective clothing worn to prevent injury. Boots and clothing can get caught on nails and staples, causing dangerous falls.

Keeping utility poles clean helps our utility line workers stay safe and helps to ensure reliable electric service for your family.

Go Fly a Kite…Safely

Kite flying can be a great way to pass the time on a windy day. But be sure to follow these tips to be safe, not sorry: 

• Use only dry string, not wire, to hold your kite together

• Never fly your kite in wet or stormy weather.

• Fly your kite only in open fields, away from power lines.

Call us if your kite gets caught in a power line. Never try to remove it yourself.

Light Your Way to Savings

Did you know that more than 10% of your average monthly electric bill pays for lighting your home? You can lower your electricity rates just by changing light bulbs.

To begin, replace standard incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs, which use 75% less energy. (That means that for every dollar you spend on lighting now, you'll save $0.75). Most compact fluorescents come with screw bases that fit into any light socket. You can use them in lamps, ceiling fixtures and outdoor lights without changing the shade or cover.

Although they do cost more than incandescents, compact fluorescent bulbs last up to 10 times longer. And switching just one can save $30-$55 over the life of the bulb, more than enough to pay for it.

Bulb Labels Light Your Way to Savings

Not all light bulbs are created equal, but now, thanks to a new law, you'll be able to select the most energy-efficient bulbs for your lighting needs.

Light bulb packages must now display information on light output (lumens) and energy use (watts). Labels also include instructions on how to use this information: "To save energy costs, find the bulb with the light output you need, then choose the one with the lowest watts.” 

Information about the expected life of the bulb is also provided. Most energy-efficient bulbs cost more to purchase, but last much longer. This means you'll save on bulb replacement costs, while saving energy, too.

A Dangerous Combination

Water and Electricity are necessary for everyday life. Both are safe when used correctly. But when electricity and water come together, danger is the result. In the bathroom, kitchen, or outdoors, it is important to use electrical appliances with caution. Keep appliances away from sinks or tubs where they might fall in, and never let cords run through water. If an appliance does fall in water, unplug it—don’t grab it. 

Don't immerse appliances in water to clean them, and unplug portable appliances before cleaning with a damp cloth. By following these steps, you can stay safe.

Don’t Let Your Old Refrigerator Guzzle Electricity

Your refrigerator is a big contributor to your electric rates, but there are some things you can do to save money on your food storage costs:

• Make sure your refrigerator doors seal tightly, and open them only for brief periods.

• If the refrigerator is near the stove or dishwasher, move it to a cooler location.

• If you have a second refrigerator in the garage or basement, see if you can get by without it.

Consider a new refrigerator. Today's refrigerators use much less electricity that those made 10 or 20 years ago.

Use Care With Extension Cords

Extension cords are convenient, but as with any other electrical device, it's important to use them with caution. Follow these safety rules when you use extension cords:

• Examine cords for signs of damage, such as cracking or peeling insulation.

• Never hide extension cords under rugs or furniture.

• Never install extension cords with nails or staples.

• Never overload an extension cord.

Remember that extension cords are designed for temporary use. A licensed electrician can install a new outlet if you need a permanent solution.

Compare and Save on Electric Appliances

If you're thinking about buying a new appliance, consider the cost of operation, as well as the purchase price. Often, less expensive appliances are also less energy efficient, and that can cost you more in the long run.

Before selecting an appliance, compare the yellow ENERGYGUIDE labels on each model. ENERGYGUIDE labels list the estimated annual electric rates of the appliance. Over the life of the appliance, you may find that the energy savings of a more efficient model will outweigh the additional purchase cost.

ENERGYGUIDE labels appear on all new furnaces, air conditioners, washing machines and dryers, water heaters, refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, and heat pumps.