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UGI Connection

a blog from UGI Utilities, Inc.

9 Tips to Help You Operate Your Natural Gas & Electric Appliances Safely this Winter

fireplaceBrrrrr, it’s certainly cold out there and more snow and ice is on the way for Pennsylvania. To stay warm in these frigid temperatures, many of us turn to electric and natural gas heaters, hot showers, and cozy fireplaces. While it may feel good to warm up under a hot shower or next to a cozy fire, it’s important to remember improper use of electric and natural gas appliances can lead to dangerous situations. UGI urges residents to use the following tips to stay safe and warm this winter:

  • Follow the manufacturer’s directions regarding care and operation for all natural gas and electric appliances.
  • Repairs and installations are for experts – have trained people do the work.
  • A gas flame should be primarily blue. If it is yellow or orange, turn off the equipment and call for service (gas fireplaces are an exception).
  • newconstructionfurnaceandwaterheater ESC 1 300x201 - 9 Tips to Help You Operate Your Natural Gas & Electric Appliances Safely this WinterAlways make sure there is no gas buildup around a pilot or burner before you relight it.
  • Keep the flues of your gas appliances clean and properly vented. If you installed a gas conversion burner in the past year, be alert for soot and buildup from previous fuel. A buildup could block the flue and chimney base.
  • Teach children to never turn on or light gas appliances.
  • Keep trash and other flammable materials away from natural gas appliances.
  • Turn your water heater from 150 to 120 degrees – not only is this safe, but it will help you save money on your utility bill.
  • If your appliances are more than 20 years old, have the appliance connectors checker by a heating and plumbing professional.

For more information about natural gas appliances and safety for all seasons, visit us online at www.ugi.com/safety.

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January Little Reader Pick

Celebrate the new year and teach your child about new cultures with Shanté Keys and the New Year’s Peas. Written by Gail Piernas-Davenport and illustrated by Marion Eldridge, this fun and engaging tale highlights different New Year celebrations from cultures around the world.

Shante Keys and the New Years Peas

From the publisher: Shanté Keys loves New Year’s Day! But while Grandma fixed chitlins, baked ham, greens, and cornbread, she forgot the black-eyed peas! Oh no—it’ll be bad luck without them! So Shanté sets out to borrow some from the neighbors. Does Miss Lee have peas? What about Mr. MacGhee, or Shanté’s good friend Hari? None of them do—but, as Shanté discovers, they have fun foods and traditions for their New Year’s! Now, if only Shanté can find good-luck peas in time for dinner!

Don’t wait! Pick up a copy of Shanté Keys and the New Year’s Peas for your little reader at your local library.

little-reader-icon

At UGI Utilities, we are deeply committed to children’s literacy.  Studies have shown that children who are not reading at grade level by third grade will experience significant difficulties throughout their lives. Today’s students will be tomorrow’s business and government leaders, employees and customers.

Check back each month for new Little Reader picks and follow @UGIReads on Twitter for more book selections, author quotes, and tips and tricks to help your own little reader. Have a suggestion for a Little Reader Pick? Let us know in the comments below.

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Winter is Here: Stay Safe in Extreme Cold Weather

closeup of man digging snow with shovel near car

Cold weather has blanketed many parts of the UGI service territory and will continue throughout the coming months. UGI encourages residents and community members to be “winter wise” during severe cold weather. Use the following tips to help ensure the safe and reliable use of home heating equipment:

  • In extreme cold weather, your heating unit may have difficulty maintaining the temperature set on your thermostat based on the system capacity and other factors. However, if your equipment is not functioning properly, you may need to contact your heating contractor.
  • On days when snow or ice fall, clear any accumulation from the outside vents of your furnace or other natural gas appliances.  This allows air the flow necessary for safe operation. Blocked vents can lead to a dangerous build-up of carbon monoxide.
  • If the snow is deep, you should clear the area around the gas meter, providing a path for UGI personnel who may require access.  Please work carefully around your gas meter.  Keep snow blowers and plows away from the gas meter.
  • Remember that an electric power outage will affect blowers and newer heaters with electronic ignitions.  If your gas heater does not relight when the power returns, turn the unit off for a moment, then back on.  If it still does not light, call a heating professional for service.
  • Make sure you have working smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors and the batteries powering them are fresh.
  • Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning can result from a malfunctioning heating unit or another fuel-burning appliance, as well as from a blocked chimney. CO poisoning is more common during cold weather, when heating units are functioning and home windows and doors are closed tightly. CO is a colorless, odorless, gas. Symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea and dizziness. Individuals who believe they may be experiencing symptoms of CO poisoning should immediately seek fresh air and prompt medical attention.
  • Never use a generator, grill, portable/camping stove or other fossil fuel burning device inside a home, garage of other enclosed area. Never heat a home with an oven if your electricity goes out.
  • Use extra caution when using space heaters. Place a space heater on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable (such as paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs) at least three feet away from the unit.
  • If you are using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
  • Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed. Using secondary heating sources, such as space heaters, can increase the chance of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Be aware that UGI adds an odorant, which smells like rotten eggs, to natural gas to help you detect a gas leak.  The odorant is added in small concentrations and is harmless.  If you smell an odor of rotten eggs, leave the building immediately, taking everyone with you. Do not use the phone, light a match, or switch anything on or off.  Leave the door open, and once clear of the area call UGI from your cell phone or neighbor’s home. UGI’s emergency response number is 1-800-276-2722.  UGI will send a service technician to investigate the odor immediately.  UGI emergency responders are available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year.  Your safety is always our top priority.

For more information and safety tips, visit us online at www.ugi.com/safety.

 

 

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January Featured Community Organization: Big Brothers Big Sisters

Big Brothers Big Sisters Logo

Big Brothers Big Sisters LogoUGI’s community efforts aim to improve educational opportunities and encourage the development of the many children throughout the communities we serve. UGI is pleased to support and partner with Big Brothers Big Sisters, our Featured Community Organization for January, in recognition of National Mentoring Month.

Bowl For Kids Sake 720x405 72 RGB 300x169 - January Featured Community Organization: Big Brothers Big Sisters

UGI’s Bowl for Kids’ Sake bowling team in Wilkes-Barre.

Big Brothers Big Sisters provides children with a strong, enduring, one-on-one relationship to help them achieve success in life and change their lives for the better. Through meaningful mentoring between adult volunteers and children, Big Brothers Big Sisters provides children facing adversity with supportive relationships to build confidence and better relationships, avoid risky behaviors, and achieve educational success.

COUL Night at Reading BBBS Chapter

UGI volunteers participate in COUL Night in Reading.

Throughout the year, UGI employees donate their time and energy to Big Brothers Big Sisters events and causes. During Big Brothers Big Sisters’ signature fundraiser, Bowl For Kids’ Sake, UGI teams came together to raise money for the organization while enjoying a night out in the community. In the Reading area, UGI volunteers hosted a COUL (Club of Unmatched Littles) Night which included dinner and working on a tie-dye t-shirt activity. UGI is proud to participate in these activities, as well as the many other events Big Brothers Big Sisters hosts in our service territories.

To learn more about Big Brothers Big Sisters and to locate a chapter in your area, visit www.bbbs.org.

 

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December Little Reader Pick: The First Day of Winter

dec little reader 300x297 - December Little Reader Pick: The First Day of WinterWinter has finally arrived, which means snow, hot chocolate, and holiday cheer. So grab your kids and hunker down under a warm blanket as you enjoy UGI’s December Little Reader Pick: The First Day of Winter, written and illustrated by Denise Fleming.

This is a light-hearted tale about a young boy who receives 10 gifts for the first 10 days of winter, all so he can build the perfect snowman. The beautiful illustrations and fun “sing-song” words will motivate any child to go out and build a snowman.

Little Reader Icon 300x299 - December Little Reader Pick: The First Day of Winter

At UGI Utilities, we are deeply committed to children’s literacy.  Studies have shown that children who are not reading at grade level by third grade will experience significant difficulties throughout their lives. Today’s students will be tomorrow’s business and government leaders, employees and customers.

Check back each month for new Little Reader picks and follow @UGIReads on Twitter for more book selections, author quotes, and tips and tricks to help your own little reader. Have a suggestion for a Little Reader Pick? Let us know in the comments below.

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Stay Safe This Holiday Season: Electrical Safety

christmaskids iStock 000011288792XSmall 1  300x225 - Stay Safe This Holiday Season: Electrical SafetyThe holiday season is here and as we gather together to celebrate this most wonderful time of year, we bring out our most festive lights and extra appliances.

UGI encourages customers and community residents to use electricity safely with the following tips:

  • Prevent Christmas tree fires. If you are using a natural tree, make sure it is placed well away from heating sources, and is well watered to avoid dry branches catching fire from the heat of bulbs. If you use an artificial tree, make sure it is tested and labeled as fire resistant. Artificial trees with built-in electrical systems should have the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) label.
  • Properly use outdoor electric extension cords. If using outdoor lights around your home, make sure you use outdoor-rated extension cords and timers. Follow the directions on cord labels regarding connecting light strings and extension cords to avoid overloading electrical circuits. If a cord feels hot to the touch, it is overloaded and may cause an electrical fire. Additionally, make sure the cords are located out of the way to avoid a tripping hazard.
  • iStock 000018704992XSmall 300x199 - Stay Safe This Holiday Season: Electrical SafetyCheck electric cords for fraying or damage and replace them if you find potential problems.
  • Install safety plugs and outlet covers if you have children in your home.
  • If you experience an electrical fire, unplug it without touching the appliance or turn off the electrical supply. Use a Class C-rated fire extinguisher, if available. If not, throw baking soda on the fire — never water. If necessary, call your fire department.
  • Use extra caution when using space heaters. Always place a space heater on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable (such as paper, clothing, bedding curtains, or upholstered furniture) at least three feet away from the unit. Turn off space heaters before leaving the room.

Winter weather is settling in early for many areas throughout the UGI service territory. UGI urges customers to be prepared for unexpected power outages by taking the following steps:

  • Clear deep snow from collecting around electric meters. Clearing snow from the area around your electric meters provides a path for UGI personnel who may require access. When removing accumulated snow or ice, please work carefully.
  • Significant ice accumulation or high winds can also cause downed electric wires and power outages. UGI Electric customers who experience an outage should contact UGI at 800-276-2722. If you see a downed electric wire, assume it is energized and DO NOT TOUCH IT. Contact UGI at 800-276-2722 to report the downed wire.94989059 300x200 - Stay Safe This Holiday Season: Electrical Safety
  • If you depend on electric-powered medical equipment for life-support, we recommend that you purchase a back-up power supply or make arrangements to stay with family or friends in the case of an outage.
  • Put together an emergency preparedness kit, including blankets, flashlights, batteries, and bottled water. Click here for a full list of what to include in your emergency preparedness kit.
  • Objects useful in an emergency 24323030 720x586 72 RGB 300x244 - Stay Safe This Holiday Season: Electrical SafetyIf you are a residential customer with special needs and have an emergency, please contact your regional 911 center. Special needs customers calling UGI to report an outage should identify themselves to the customer service representative. UGI can provide information to assist you in connecting to your local 911 center.
  • If you use a generator during an outage, please make sure it is used safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions on proper venting and operation. NEVER OPERATE A BACK-UP GENERATOR IN AN ENCLOSED SPACE.

For additional electrical and winter safety tips, visit us at www.ugi.com/safety. Get real-time outage updates by visiting the UGI Electric Outage Center.

Have a safe and wonderful holiday season!

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December Featured Community Organization: Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet

CPYB Logo 300 300x125 - December Featured Community Organization: Central Pennsylvania Youth BalletUGI’s community efforts aim to improve educational opportunities and encourage the development of the many children throughout the communities we serve. UGI is pleased to support and partner with the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet (CPYB), our Featured Community Organization for December, in its mission to educate, inspire, and enrich the lives of young people throughout the Central PA area.

Not every child will have the interest or ability to pursue the intense training a career in ballet demands, however every child deserves the chance to experience ballet and explore dance is the thinking at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. Through several outreach programs, CPYB strives to enrich children’s lives through introductions to dance, classical music, and theatre. Each year, hundreds of students from schools in the Central PA region participate in these enriching and educational experiences.

Program at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet include:

  • Capture - December Featured Community Organization: Central Pennsylvania Youth BalletDiscoverDance a four-tiered program providing children of all socioeconomic backgrounds the opportunity to see a performance, take a class and have the opportunity to pursue formal training in CYPB’s academic program.
  • School Day Performance Programs invite teachers and their students to specially priced matinee performances that will expand students’ cultural horizons through the art of classical ballet.
  • School Assemblies allow CYPB to demonstrate the beauty of ballet to young people through innovative education programs.

This holiday season, we encourage our customers in the Central PA area to join us in supporting the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet outreach programs by attending their production of the time-honored holiday classic George Balanchine’s “The Nutcracker,” performed by CPYB’s talented dancers.

For more information about the production or the CPYB, visit https://www.cpyb.org.

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Give & Get Sweepstakes: Enter to Win $250 this Giving Season

Give Get Blog 300x157 - Give & Get Sweepstakes: Enter to Win $250 this Giving Season

It’s the most wonderful time of year! A time to come together to celebrate our family, friends, and the many things we’re thankful for. It’s also the time when many of us look for ways to give back to our communities and those in need.

To celebrate this wonderful time of year, UGI is giving away $250 to one lucky winner along with $500 to the charitable organization of their choice during our Give & Get Sweepstakes! To enter, click the link below to fill out our short form with the organization you’d like to nominate along with a brief description of why you’ve chosen that organization. Additionally, we’ll be giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card each week to one lucky winner who has been randomly chosen from our entries.

Click to enter UGI’s 2017 Give & Get Sweepstakes

Be sure to follow along with us on Facebook to keep up with our weekly prize drawings and learn more about the community organizations UGI supports throughout the year.

UGI’s 2017 Give & Get Sweepstakes is open now until Janaury 12, 2018 at 11:59pm. A grand prize winner will be selected and notified on or around January 12, 2018. The sweepstakes are open to residents in Pennsylvania and Maryland and all participants must be 18 years of age or older. Please click here to view our terms and conditions.

 

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Downtown Harrisburg Churches Get UGI Energy Rebates

UGI PA Firstline October 2017 10 23 17 final 261x300 - Downtown Harrisburg Churches Get UGI Energy Rebates

UGI’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation program supports Harrisburg churches’ high-efficiency boilers.

UGI recently presented energy rebate checks totaling $10,000 to St. Patrick’s Cathedral on State Street in Harrisburg and nearby St. Lawrence Chapel as part of its Energy Efficiency and Conservation (EE&C) program. UGI’s EE&C program provides financial incentives for customers to install energy-efficient appliances and equipment.

According to UGI Energy Efficiency analyst, Joe Nunley, EE&C rebates help non-profit organizations direct more of their funds to their causes. These rebates encouraged the two churches to install new high-efficiency commercial boilers that will generate an estimated total annual cost savings of nearly $7,000, enabling them to pay for their new furnaces a full year and a half sooner than if they had done the projects without rebate help.

St. Patrick’s Rev. Joshua Brommer said UGI’s EE&C program “gave us an incentive to explore a more responsible use of energy that both safeguards natural resources and exercises good stewardship of parish funds. We are so grateful to UGI staff for their direction and guidance in exploring this option for our parish.”

For more information about UGI’s Save Smart Energy Efficiency and Conservation program, as well as how to apply for a rebate for your business, visit www.ugi.com/commgasrebates.

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November Little Reader Pick: The Polar Bear Son, an Inuit Tale

nov little reader - November Little Reader Pick: The Polar Bear Son, an Inuit TaleNovember is Native American Heritage and Alaska Native Heritage Month! To celebrate, UGI has chosen The Polar Bear Son: An Inuit Tale, written and illustrated by Lydia Dabcovich.

This story tells a tale of a lonely old woman who adopts, cares for, and raises a polar bear as if he were her own son. When jealous villagers threaten the bear’s life, forcing him to leave his home and his “mother,” this heartwarming retelling of a traditional Inuit folktale will captivate an audience of all ages.

Little Reader Icon 300x299 - November Little Reader Pick: The Polar Bear Son, an Inuit Tale

At UGI Utilities, we are deeply committed to children’s literacy.  Studies have shown that children who are not reading at grade level by third grade will experience significant difficulties throughout their lives. Today’s students will be tomorrow’s business and government leaders, employees and customers.

Check back each month for new Little Reader picks and follow @UGIReads on Twitter for more book selections, author quotes, and tips and tricks to help your own little reader. Have a suggestion for a Little Reader Pick? Let us know in the comments below.

Happy Reading!

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