7 lovable things electric utilities do


From rebates and smart home makeovers to online games and electrifying theatrical performances, you may be as surprised as we were at some of the creative ways power companies are sending a little love to their customers and the communities they serve. Scroll down for customer engagement ideas that may inspire you. And please use the Talk Back comment form at the bottom of the page if you'd like to share something your utility is doing.


Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) is offering a $650 rebate that, when combined a recently reinstated $300 federal tax credit, means OUC customers can purchase GE’s GeoSpring Hybrid Water Heater for next to nothing. And as GE notes, the savings don't end there. It says its hybrid water-heating technology can save consumers on average $3,000 over 10 years. Learn more >>


Ontario (Canada) Power Generation (OPG) operates 65 hydroelectric stations and 231 dams on 24 river systems. Most of these facilities are remotely controlled. As part of a "Stay Clear, Stay Safe"campaign that includes warnings about the dangers of thin ice around those hydro stations and dams, OPG created a high-speed Snowmobile Showdown online game that pits the player against the thin ice. It's fun (and educational). Give it a try >>


Southern California Edison treated schools in its service area to "A Bug's Light," an interactive play about electrical safety featuring Sparky the Wonder Bug and Adam the Workaholic Ant. Through live performances by professional actors, kids learned how electricity is made, uses of electricity, identifying dangerous electrical situations and ways to stay safe around electricity, especially around down power lines. Learn more >>


ComEd launched a contest to award up to four customers within the communities that are part of its smart meter pilot program with free, smart home makeovers valued at nearly $45,000 each. The contest is called the "Smart Home Showcase," and will provide each winner with an energy efficiency overhaul of their home that will include smart appliances, electricity-generating solar panels and battery storage equipment, a Nest Learning Thermostat and an in-home display. Learn more >>


Guelph Hydro’s 30-man "Movember" team raised $6,000 to help fight the battle against prostate cancer and men’s mental health thanks to a challenge issued by Barry Chuddy, Guelph CEO.  Chuddy, who has sported a handlebar moustache for almost four decades, was prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice and shave it off if the team could raise $5,000. Spurred on by the challenge, Guelph Hydro employees and sponsors raised $6,024.57 - and then watched as the boss got a shave. Learn more >>


We Energies is asking customers to submit recipes for its 2013 Cookie Book. The annual Cookie Book, which the utility serving customers in Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula has been producing since 1928, features hundreds of recipes passed down from generation to generation. Past issues featured recipes from former and current employees -- until last year, when customer recipes were included for the first time. Learn more >>


And finally, PG&E sent a heart-felt message to customers reminding them that if they're celebrating Valentine's Day with metallic, helium-filled balloons, to securely tie them to a weight so they won't float away. Metallic balloons that contact overhead power lines can disrupt electric service to an entire neighborhood, cause significant property damage and potentially result in serious personal injuries. Last year, the utility says metallic balloons that drifted into PG&E power lines caused nearly 290 outages, affecting electric service to more than 134,000 homes and businesses throughout Northern and Central California. Learn more >>


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