Back for another installment: Stuff utilities actually do


By Liz Enbysk

SGN Managing Editor


Every so often we highlight some of the clever, unusual or just plain cool things that electric utilities are doing to engage and educate their customers or showcase good deeds they do in their communities. Scroll down and over to page 2 for a look at our latest; eight ideas - including a few you may want to borrow.


Florida Power & Light provides new nests for rare birds: After installing new, more storm-resilient power line poles in the Duette Preserve in Manatee County, FPL crews (pictured above) moved four wooden poles in the preserve to save inactive nests that Southeastern American Kestrels already built into the poles. And in what the utility says is a first, they also installed kestrel boxes on the new poles to provide additional nesting options. The endangered kestrel is the smallest falcon in the U.S. "We commend FPL for preserving and expanding nesting sites for the rare Southeastern American Kestrels at Manatee County's Duette Preserve," said Marianne Korosy, Audubon Florida Important Bird area coordinator. "Eighty percent of this subspecies has disappeared from the U.S. over the past 70 years. Decline is related to loss of habitat and widespread removal of nesting trees. FPL has set a bird-friendly precedent with this timely effort."  Read more >>


E.ON says one act of loyalty deserves another: The UK power and gas company just ran a Twitter "Reward a Friend with E.ON" campaign encouraging residents to honor someone who has done them a good turn with a treat. To enter, they had to follow E.ON on Twitter and Tweet who they wanted to reward using a special hash tag. The treats? E.ON is giving away four "experience days" for two plus 70 pairs of cinema tickets. Read more >>


CPS Energy promotes Mow Down Smog rebates: Noting that a conventional lawn mower pollutes as much in an hour as driving a car for 110 miles, the Texas utility offers rebates up to $60 on their utility bill if they purchase electric-powered mowers or electric edgers, blowers and hedge trimmers. Read more >>

BC Hydro introduces the Power Pointers: In a fun approach to educating customers about ways to save energy and money, a BC Hydro campaign features a cast of animated characters provide energy saving tips for residential, commercial and industrial customers. For instance, there's Dwayne, the tech-lovin' suburbanite, who provides power pointers for residential customers with tips based on real BC Hydro customers. Meet the Power Pointers here >>


Consumers Energy lightens load of struggling families: The Michigan utility teamed up with Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank to distribute 75,000 free, energy efficient CFL light bulbs to help families save energy in their homes and money on their electric bills. Consumers says the ENERGY STAR®-qualified CFLs can last up to 10,000 hours or nine years. "CFLs are an easy way for families to cut energy costs and focus their resources on other needs,” said Patti Poppe, the utility’s vice president of customer experience and operations.  "We know in these tough economic times it’s important to help our neighbors. Our work with Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank makes this a great fit.” Read more >>


BGE picks up the tab for a dogwood or oak: Those are just two of the free trees Baltimore Gas and Electric offers customers through its new Energy-Saving Trees Program. BGE says its contributed $300,000 to the effort which provides 9,000 free trees to customers who must agree to plant them in an energy-saving location and away from overhead power lines and underground utilities. "Heating and cooling typically account for nearly half of a home’s annual energy use and studies have shown that planting the right tree, in the right place, can help customers save up to 30 percent on their energy use throughout the year,” said Jeannette M. Mills, VP and chief customer officer for BGE. "Properly placed trees help keep homes cool by providing shade from the harsh, summer sun and by slowing cold, winter winds." Read more >>

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