You’re So Cool! Or You Can Be With These Tips

It’s starting to warm up now that mid-summer’s here, and we all want to defeat the heat.Ceiling Fan If you have an air conditioner, you probably don’t want to crank it up all the time since you’ll pay for it when your electric bill comes. Or maybe you don’t have air conditioning and are looking for tips to stay cool. Here are some heat-beating tips that use little or no electricity.

  1. Buy a room fan for less than $15 and cool down people in a room using a very small amount of power.
  2. A bowl of ice placed in front of a fan so that the air blows across the ice can add cooling moisture to your room.
  3. Ceiling fans are effective, and we even offer a rebate for purchasing up to three ceiling fans. Be sure the ceiling fan is going in the right direction: run it counterclockwise in the summer so that air is forced downward. Most ceiling fans have a switch to change the direction of the blades.
  4. At night or in the early morning, open windows and even doors to bring the cool outside air into your home or apartment. Use a fan in the window to help draw the cool air in. Then close up your home when you leave for the day to trap that air inside.
  5. Close your blinds and/or curtains to block sunlight and outdoor warmth from your living areas. Solar heat gain heats up your living space.
  6. Use the microwave or outdoor barbeque to cook meals, or consider preparing cold meals like salads. A hot stove or oven increases the indoor temperature.
  7. Exhaust fans in bathrooms can vent warm air from your home, especially after a hot shower.
  8. Get rid of incandescent lights that generate a lot of heat and put in LED bulbs, which produce very little heat while using far less electricity.
  9. During the hottest parts of the day, spend time at the library, mall, or movie theater. These places are great cooling centers for the community.

To save energy and money, remember to turn off fans when no one is in a room. Fans directly cool people, not empty spaces!

His Best Pitch Was A Slider

As a right-handed pitcher in the Cleveland Indians pro baseball minor league system, Randy Rambis Baseball Card PhotoRandy Rambis was working his way up to the major leagues when a shoulder injury and surgery sidelined his career. Drafted by Cleveland out of California State University-Hayward, Randy pitched for teams in New York, Iowa and Tennessee.

Baseball’s loss was our gain. Randy went to work for the city in 1988, first in the Parks and Recreation Department and then as an electrician for SVP. Now, as one of our veteran troublemen who works on the front line, Randy often braves weather that would postpone a baseball game when he’s the first person on the scene of an outage.

Rambis sometimes has to make an evaluation and help with the decision on what to do next. He knows how to look for signals.

“I’ll patrol the power lines and look for fault indicators that can let us know where an outage problem is. Branches, birds, squirrels and balloons cause a lot of our outages.” Working in that environment, Rambis earns his rest days.

While road trips were not always the favorite part of the athlete’s job, Randy now uses them to get away with his wife Caryen. One of his best memories is a weeks-long drive through the Northwest and then the Midwest with no real itinerary. “Coeur d’Alene (Idaho) and Glacier National Park helped make it one of the best trips of my life.”

When he returns, he’s ready to take the mound for our customers. And with the ability to get electricity back on in a neighborhood, you might say he has his power delivery down pat.

Wind Power Winning the Day for Electricity Users

Did you know that wind power is actually considered a type of solar power by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)? Wind farm - with logo

In an explanation of how wind turbines work, the DOE points out that winds are caused by the heating of the atmosphere by the sun, the rotation of the Earth, and the Earth’s surface irregularities. Maybe we can add “earth spin power” to our list of renewable energy sources.

At SVP we have the potential use of almost 200 megawatts (MW) of peak wind power for our customers. The actual amount utilized at any one time usually depends on when and where the wind is blowing. As of Dec. 31, 2015, California had 6,108 megawatts (MW) of wind power potential, according to the DOE. The DOE states there are 74,472 megawatts of wind power capable of being generated overall in the U.S.

Wind power is here to stay, and for good reason.

So how does wind add up? The advantages as well as the challenges associated with wind power include:

  • It’s a green renewable energy source. Turbines don’t emit atmospheric pollutants.
  • It’s sustainable. As long as the sun shines and the wind blows, power can be harnessed and distributed to the grid.
  • Wind turbines can be built on existing farms or ranches. Some of the best wind farm sites are in rural areas. Since wind turbines use very little land, farmers and ranchers can continue working their land while at the same time earning extra income from renting their land to power companies.
  • Wind helps the economy and creates jobs. U.S. wind power projects in 2014 employed more than 73,000 workers and resulted in more than $8 billion of private capital entering the economy, according to the American Wind Energy Association. The DOE’s Wind Vision Report says by 2050, wind power might support more than 600,000 jobs in manufacturing, installation, maintenance, and support services.

There are also challenges for wind power.

Other sources of electricity can be cheaper than wind power. Some fossil-fueled generation sources can sometimes provide electricity more cheaply than wind farms. Also, the initial investment for wind power technology is higher than the investment needed for conventional resources.

  • Rural sites are good for wind but they can be far from populations needing the electricity. This requires transmission lines to deliver the power from a remote location.
  • A wind farm development might not be the most profitable use of the land. Other types of development not related to power generation may be more profitable for owners of land suitable for a wind project.
  • Turbines might cause noise and aesthetic pollution. Concern exists over the noise produced by the turbine blades and visual impacts to the landscape.
  • Turbine blades could damage local wildlife. There is concern about turbine blades killing and injuring birds. The Audubon Society has long supported wind power while encouraging new wind farm location parameters and continued improvement in pole design. Slower turbines, improved monitoring of bird behavior and flight paths, and sensitivity to bird migration routes have all played a role in reducing impacts of wind turbines on birds. In fact, a good portion of turbines are shut down for two months during the bird migration season at Altamont Pass, where we are also working toward replacing the smaller, faster-spinning small turbines with new large units.