Energy

Energy Assessment for Your Home

Orrville Utilities is pleased to provide the following links to help assess your home's annual energy use and provide recommendations on increasing efficiency, tailored to your needs. Just click on the title to access the link,  Energy Star's Home Energy Yardstick and the Department of Energy's Home Energy Saver Tool.

Energy Diversity

The City of Orrville takes pride in its energy diversity. The following suppliers contribute to our community’s energy supply. Orrville also purchases powe, when needed,  from the grid otherwise known as the energy wholesale market.  Energy types, MW totals, and providers are listed below.

FOSSIL FUEL -  5.0 MW  - Prairie State Energy Campus Project
HYDRO - 5.9 MW - Cannelton, Smithland, and Willow Island
HYDRO - 5.5 MW - Meldahl Hydro
HYDRO - 1 MW -  NYPA
WIND - 2 MW - Blue Creek Wind Farm
FOSSIL FUEL - 24 MW - Fremont Energy Center

Natural Gas Aggregation

The City of Orrville is once again providing residents the opportunity to participate with other municipalities in a natural gas aggregation program, with Interstate Gas Supply, Inc. as the gas supplier. The ninth natural gas aggregation program for Orrville will begin with the November 2016 billing period and end with the October 2017 billing period.

If you are currently enrolled in the City of Orrville Natural Gas Aggregation Program, you will automatically be enrolled in the new program unless you choose to opt out. There is no cost for enrollment. If you are currently enrolled and wish to opt out, you must contact IGS at 1-877-353-0162.

If you are not currently enrolled and would like to be included in the program, please call IGS at 1-877-353-0162 to obtain the eligibility requirements and enrollment procedures. Starting with the November 2016 billing cycle, the new rate will be $2.97 per MCF, plus applicable taxes and Dominion charges. Unlike Dominion’s rate which changes with the market price of gas each month, this rate will remain fixed at $2.97 per MCF through the October 2017 billing period. 

Under natural gas aggregation, Dominion will continue to maintain the gas delivery pipeline system. You will continue to receive a single bill from Dominion for natural gas service that includes the supply charge from IGS and sales tax. Customers may continue to contact Dominion regarding loss of gas service, gas odors, or any other concerns. Budget billing and automatic billing options will continue to be available through Dominion.

If you have any questions, please call IGS at 1-877-353-0162, weekdays, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For general information on natural gas deregulation in Ohio, you can also visit the Ohio Consumer’s Counsel or the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

Energy Saving Tips

Finding ways to make your home more energy efficient is one of the best ways to save money on your energy bills—even with rising electricity rates. The following tips can help you get started on your pathway to saving energy:

  • Learn how your home’s energy system works, and how each part affects the others.
  • Detect and correct energy waste, leaks, and other inefficiencies. For example, installing Energy Star rated products will lower your cost to run appliances.
  • Maintain peak efficiency with regular maintenance of appliances and energy systems.
  • Use energy wisely by developing energy conservation habits in everyday living—like turning off the lights when you leave a room!

By making your home as energy efficient as possible, you can save money and help preserve the environment!

Energy Generation and Distribution

Learn more about electricity generation and delivery with this helpful overview, courtesy of Orrville Utilities!

Generation

Generation Dispatch

Electricity is unique in that it must be produced the instant it is needed. It just cannot be economically stored in large quantities using today's technology.

Utility companies schedule and operate a series of generators at a given power level known to be the most efficient for the season and time. As the customers' needs change, the operators must adjust the amount of electricity produced. If the required load is higher than what the generators are currently producing, the system's electrical frequency falls below the desired value of 60 cycles. The generation operators decide which unit is the most economical to increase power output, or they bring an additional generating unit online to raise the frequency back up to 60 cycles. If the generators are producing too much electricity compared to the required load, the system frequency increases above 60 cycles and generation operators decide which unit's power generation needs to be lowered.

In the event the electric utility doesn't generate the required power, the system voltage drops below the minimum set point, and circuit breakers trip to prevent equipment damage. This can cause major power outages for consumers. Fortunately, today's electric utilities have interchange agreements with other power suppliers that minimize the likelihood of this event.

Electric utilities also plan their power generation to meet widely varying demands. Because of the varied schedules on which customers use electricity, the load varies over the day, the week, and the year. Normally, the load tends to be lowest at night, when most people are asleep, and highest during the day, when the most appliances are in use. Some utilities see a peak at night due to electric space heating in the cooler months, while others see a peak during the hottest days of the summer when air conditioners are working their hardest.

Steam Turbines

A steam turbine power plant is the most common type of power plant today. This plant converts heat into electricity using a boiler and a turbine to drive an electric generator. Large-scale commercial systems use steam produced from a variety of sources, including nuclear reactions, fossil fuels, and even geothermal energy. The most common fuels used at steam turbine plants are coal, oil, and natural gas.

The steam, under great pressure, rushes through pipes and valves to turn the steam turbine at high speed, similar to how wind drives a windmill. Heat energy in the steam is converted to mechanical energy by the turbine.

When the steam leaves the turbine it goes to the condenser, where water is used to cool the steam back to water. The water is sent back to boiler to become steam again.

The force of the fluid causes the turbine to rotate, which in turn rotates the magnetic field inside the generator, producing electricity.

Coal

Coal is an abundant and relatively inexpensive fuel. Fifty-five percent of the United States' net electric generation comes from coal. However, coal-fired power plants are complicated. They use intricate coal handling equipment and are subject to strict environmental regulations. This makes these plants more expensive to build.

Most coal-powered plants maintain a 30 to 60 day stockpile of coal. The coal is transported from the storage pile to the plant where it is ground into a fine powder and burned in the boiler.

Coal presents several environmental challenges in that it produces more combustion byproducts than oil or gas, including fly ash, bottom ash, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur oxides. Many utilities sell fly ash to concrete companies to be used as a concrete additive. Bottom ash is collected and stored until it can be ground up and used as a concrete additive and for stabilizing road beds. Scrubbers and other equipment are used to clean and limit the amount of sulfur oxides ad nitrogen oxides released through the stack.

Delivery

Delivery System Overview

As electrical energy is generated, it is transformed and transported instantaneously through a network of wires, substations, and transformers. Electricity is generated at a comparatively low voltage at most generating stations. In order to transport this energy great distances, the voltage has to be increased, or stepped up to values as high as 765,000 volts. This is accomplished through the use of large transformers located near the generation station, and provides an efficient and economical method of transmission. Transmission line voltages can range from 69,000 volts to 765,000 volts.

From the generating station to the final destination, the generated energy undergoes numerous changes in voltage and direction. Each change requires expert design and handling to provide the consumer with affordable electric rates and a reliable energy supply.

Distribution System

The distribution system delivers electricity to each customer's residence, business, or industrial plant. It is primarily composed of the distribution substation and distribution feeders, but also contains reclosers, sectionalizers, fuses and capacitors.

Electricity is "stepped down" from a high to low voltage by transformers located at the distribution substation—the reverse of what happens at the generating station. Electricity enters the larger primary side coil and leaves from the smaller secondary coil. The electricity is reduced to a lower distribution level voltage—usually less than 39,000 volts—and delivered via three phase lines.

The distribution line supplies the final “step down” transformer at the customer’s location, where the voltage is lowered to the service level for the customer's electrical system.

Distribution Transformers

Electric power leaves the distribution substation with voltage ranging between 4,000 and 36,000 volts. This is still, of course, too high for most homes and business uses, so a distribution transformer is used to further reduce the voltage. 

Distribution transformers operate just like large transformers in a distribution substation. The transformer steps the voltage down to the service voltage required by the particular customer. For example, a normal residential service utilities two separate voltages, 120 and 240 volts. Several residential services are generally run from one distribution transformer, which is sized to meet the needs of the total load of all customers connected to it.

Businesses and industrial plants generally do not share transformers with other customers and require larger transformers, depending on the type and amount of electrical equipment used at the facility.

Large power users—such as heavy manufacturing companies—frequently use service voltages higher than 240 volts to reduce their electric rates. Most industrial facilities utilize 480 volts, but some may require primary line voltages due to very large motors or high energy processing needs.

Service Drop

The wires from the distribution transformer to the customer's service point are called the "service drop". They are commonly installed overhead, however, they can also be installed underground. All conductors must be insulated except the neutral, which may be bare in overhead installations. Single-phase service drops will have either 2 or 3 wires, while three-phase service drops will have either 3 or 4 wires.

The National Electrical Code specifies installation requirements on service-drop conductors in terms of wire size and minimum clearances above the ground.

Service Entrance

The service entrance, as the name implies, is where the wires connected to the load side of the meter enter the house or building. The service entrance in a residence is commonly referred to as a breaker or fuse box. In more complicated commercial or industrial electrical systems, the service entrance may be a main disconnect panel or a trough where up to six main switches are present.