UGI Connection

a blog from UGI Utilities, Inc.

Safety First: 8-1-1: Call Before You Dig

August 11th was national 8-1-1 day, so this month’s safety tips were all about the importance of calling before you dig! Not only is it the law, but it is also free and it ensures digging safety.
Be sure you know the facts about calling 8-1-1 before you begin to dig:
1. Call 8-1-1 three days in advance of any digging project, whether performing major excavation or minor landscaping- it’s the law! A FREE call gets all of your public utility lines marked to help protect you from injury and costly property damage.
2. Why call 8-1-1 before you dig? Underground power lines, communication cables, gas lines, water lines or other utilities may lie at various depths below the surface of your property or area of planned excavation. It is important to be safe before starting any digging or excavating by calling PA One Call and allowing time for utility companies to visit the area to mark the location of their underground facilities.
3. All your marks indicating the presence of underground utilities have a color. Each color has a specific meaning: White is proposed excavation; Pink is temporary survey markings; Red is electric power lines, cables, conduit and lighting cables; Yellow is gas, oil, steam, petroleum or gaseous materials; Orange is communication, alarm or signal lines, cables or conduit and traffic loops; Blue is potable water; Purple is reclaimed water, irrigation and slurry lines; Green is sewer and drain lines.
4. Remember that the locating of underground utility lines or facilities is not an exact science and location marks have varying degrees of required accuracy. These can range from 18 to 24 inches from the actual line or facility. Call 811 before you dig, and the lines will be marked.
5. A blocked sewer line may be the result of another utility line (i.e. gas, electric, telecommunications, and water) that has been bored through the sewer line. Please follow precautionary measures that we have outlined to help prevent accidents.
Learn more about the important of Calling 8-1-1
Check UGI’s Facebook page every Thursday for the Safety Tip of the Week

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UGI Participates in STEAM Camp

In support of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education, UGI recently sponsored the PA CareerLink’s Bridges to the Future – STEAM Camp.

During the summer following 10th grade, students participate in Camp STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math), a two-week integrated learning experience. Students explore STEAM careers in depth during the camp. The camp activities focus on career exploration through the use of business tours and employer guest speakers. Other activities include soft skills workshops, financial literacy training, entrepreneurial skills sessions, and leadership activities. Held for local high school students at the Columbia-Montour Vocational-Technical School, approximately 20 students were in attendance from the Columbia-Montour Vo. Tech, Shamokin, Mt. Carmel, and Millville school districts this summer.

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UGI employees Colin Klebon (Engineer), Andy Rohrer (Relationship Manager – Major Accounts), and Ryon Bodwalk (Field Technician) were also present and shared information about the company and careers at UGI. They also allowed students to participate in line locating at the school and guided them around the UGI truck and materials.

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Bridges to the Future is a program committed to giving students the skills they need to find jobs after high school. Students who enroll in the PA CareerLink’s Bridges to the Future In-School-Youth Program during their sophomore year receive many benefits, including one-on-one job readiness assistance from trained PA CareerLink staff throughout their High School careers. During the course of their time in the program they narrow down career plans, carve out a career pathway, participate in at least 3 job shadow experiences in their areas of career interest, create a resume, practice interviewing skills, learn about entrepreneurial skills, participate in a Paid Work Experience in the local community to gain skills and experience, and much, much more.  To learn more about Bridges to the Future, visit: http://www.cpwdc.org/youth-and-parents/bridges-to-the-future/

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National 8-11 Day

August 11th is National 8-11 Day, a national initiative to promote safe digging practices across the country. By law, homeowners are required to make the call three business days in advance of any digging project. So whether you’re performing major excavation or minor landscaping, safeguard yourself from hazards related to damaging underground pipelines. A FREE call allows all of your public utility lines to be marked to help protect you from injury and costly property damage.

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Why is it so important to call 8-1-1? Because underground power lines, communication cables, gas lines, water lines or other utilities may lie at various depths below the surface of your property or area of planned excavation. It is important to be safe before starting any digging or excavating by calling PA One Call and allowing time for utility companies to visit the area to mark the location of their underground facilities.

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Some examples of when to call 8-1-1 include:

  • installing deck or fence posts
  • installing drainage pipes or swimming pools
  • removing tree stumps
  • digging trenches
  • replacing driveways
  • laying foundations

It’s also important to respect the marks indicating the presence of underground utilities. Excavation should be carefully performed only after confirming that all utilities have marked the location of their facilities. Remember that the locating of underground utility lines or facilities is not an exact science and location marks have varying degrees of required accuracy. Now is a great time to remember the importance of calling 8-1-1 before you dig!  Happy 8-11 Day!

To learn more, visit https://www.ugi.com/811

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UGI Adds CNG Vehicles to Utility Fleet

UGI’s utility fleets in Lancaster, Wilkes-Barre and Williamsport now include vehicles fueled with compressed natural gas (CNG). The 18 new vehicles include cargo vans, connect vans and utility body pickup trucks.

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The 2016 Ford Transit Connect van is one of several new NGVs recently added to UGI’s vehicle fleet.

 

CNG vehicles offer a number of advantages over traditional gasoline-burning cars, trucks and vans. Natural gas vehicles reduce as much as 90 percent of the emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxide (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) compared with vehicles burning gasoline or diesel. CNG vehicles also offer the additional benefit of reduced engine maintenance requirements. As a cleaner burning fuel, CNG vehicles experience less engine wear and require fewer oil changes.

A number of organizations have switched their vehicle fleets to CNG to realize these benefits. At the same time, public CNG fueling stations continue to grow in number, providing greater access to small businesses and private vehicle owners wishing to invest in natural gas vehicles. There are currently 18 CNG filling stations within the UGI service territory, 15 of which have been installed in the past two years.

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UGI’s new natural gas vehicles offer significant operating costs compared to traditional gas- and diesel-powered cars and trucks.

 

UGI vehicles will fuel at both company- and privately-owned CNG stations. Lancaster-based vehicles are refueling at CNG stations operated by the Lancaster County Waste Authority and at a facility near New Holland. Wilkes-Barre vehicles use stations on UGI’s property or at U.S. Gain, a Pittston-based CNG provider. Williamsport vehicles are stopping at River Valley Transit for their CNG fueling.

Benefits of Natural Gas Vehicles (NGVs)

  • Cost Savings: Natural gas costs about 1/3 less than gasoline and about 50% less than diesel, resulting in significantly lower operating costs. Added savings are also available through incentives and grants offered through local, state, and federal governments to encourage the use of NGVs.
  • Abundant Natural Gas Supply: Using a gallon equivalent of natural gas means one less gallon of imported oil, which reduces dependency on foreign oil.  Natural gas is an American fuel which equals American jobs.
  • Cleaner Environment: Natural gas produces less exhaust emissions, and also less carbon, than any other fossil fuel.
  • Enhanced Safety: Natural gas is lighter than air, so it dissipates when released. It doesn’t leak into the ground. The ignition temperature is high – 1000 to 1100°F.  Comprehensive standards for fuel tank, vehicle and station design ensure safe operations.

Learn more about natural gas vehicles and the benefits of fueling with CNG at www.ugi.com/ngv.

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UGI Supports La Academia School in Creating STEM Projects

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education is important to UGI, and so, UGI is a proud supporter of La Academia Partnership Charter School in Lancaster. Recently, the school’s STEM coordinator, Anthony Boyer, and his students showed off their impressive STEM projects, most of which were made from recycled materials.

A student-started initiative, the school collects recyclables in specially located bins throughout the school. Mr. Boyer’s students sort through them every Friday collecting items for future STEM projects, proving that one student’s trash can be another student’s treasure. One exciting project was an Upcycle fashion show in which the students created and modeled clothes from recycled materials.

 

Other student creations included a box guitar, a house design project using Minecraft, floating gardens to be used in case of flooding, and a project in which students created architecture based on an imaginary client.

 

When it comes to creating these projects, Mr. Boyer feels that it’s important to teach students how to learn. First, he brainstorms with them to help them come up with ideas for their projects. Then, the students research and practice the skills they need to create their projects. Mr. Boyer encourages students to do things that interest them and to tie in more than one stem variable.

Over 200 students from La Academia in grades six through twelve worked on the STEM projects throughout the school year. The skills these students are learning now, will help them to tackle their next big projects in the future. For more information about La Academia Partnership Charter School, visit http://lapcs.org/.

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Featured Community Organization: Conservation Organizations

The month of April is all about celebrating our beautiful planet. It is National Safe Digging Month, the 22nd is Earth Day, and the 29th is Arbor Day. For UGI, every day is Earth Day. That is why our Featured Community Organization for April is the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

The NRCS is a national organization that provides America’s farmers and ranchers with financial and technical assistance to voluntarily put conservation on the ground. They not only Garden Seedlinghelp the environment, but also agricultural operations. The NRCS has many state locations, including the Pennsylvania Natural Resources Conservations Service which has field offices in almost every county.

The mission of the NRCS is “helping people help the land”. They have provided leadership to help America’s private land owners and manager conserve their soil, water and other natural resources. Participation for NRCS programs is voluntary. They provide financial assistance for many conservation activities:

  • The Conservation Technical Assistance program provides voluntary conservation technical assistance to land-users, communities, units of state and local government, and other Federal agencies in planning and implementing conservation systems.
  • They reach out to all segments of the agricultural community including disadvantaged farmers and ranchers
  • They manage natural resource conservation programs
  • They provide technical expertise in areas like animal husbandry and clean water, ecological sciences, engineering, resource economics, and social sciences
  • They provide expertise in soil science and leadership for soil surveys and for the National Resources Inventory
  • They implement other programs such as: Farm Bill, Financial Assistance, Easements, Landscape Initiatives, and Landscape Planning.
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Safety First: Summer Safety

Summer is here and in full swing! While the hot weather may be nice, it is important to stay safe in the case of a summer heat wave.
Heat waves can cause heat stroke, heat exhaustion, cramping and other health issues. They can be very dangerous, especially to young children or to those that do not know the signs and symptoms, or the procedures to take when these issues do occur. Read July’s weekly safety tips to learn how to spot heat related illnesses, and how to prevent them:
1. To avoid heat stress during a heat wave, wear loose fitting, light colored clothing and a hat or cap, keeping your neck covered. Apply sunscreen to exposed areas!
2. To treat heat exhaustion, apply cool compresses and move the person to a cool location, preferably in an air conditioned environment. To treat cramping, stop all activity and sit quietly in a cool place. Drink clear juice or a diluted sports beverage. To treat heat stroke, a life threatening situation, move to a cool location, apply cool, wet compresses and seek medical help immediately (call 9-1-1).
3. Signs of heat exhaustion include: Cool, moist, pale or flushed skin; heavy sweating; headache, nausea or vomiting; dizziness and exhaustion. Body temperature will be near normal. Signs of heat stroke include: Hot, red skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; and rapid, shallow breathing. Body temperature may be as high as 105 degrees F. If person was sweating from heavy work or exercise, the skin may feel wet; otherwise it will feel dry.
4. To avoid stress during a heat wave: Stay indoors, if possible. If air conditioning is not available, stay on the lower floor out of the sun. Be sure to eat a healthy diet and drink extra fluids even if you do not feel thirsty.

Learn more Heat Wave Safety here, and be sure to check UGI’s Facebook page every Thursday for the Safety Tip of the Week.
Have a good summer!

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Featured Community Organization: Weinberg Food Bank

The Harry & Jeanette Weinburg Food Bank, also known as the Commission on Economic Opportunity, is a Regional Food Bank that provides over 5 million pounds of food each year to non-profit and faith-based organizations in Northeastern, PA, that distribute to needy families.

The Food Bank holds numerous activities to service those in need.

  • The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), known as the Senior Food Boxes, provides USDA commodity foods to supplement the diets of low-income elderly individuals with nutrients they might otherwise be missing.
  • Food Bank Nutrition gives educational sessions to children and adults on good nutrition and healthy lifestyles to prevent both hunger and obesity.
  • Food 4 Kids provides hot, healthy home-style dinners to after school programs for kids who often go home to empty dinner plates.
  • The Regional Book Bank have many other services for both children and veterans

UGI employees are proud to be donating food to the Weinburg Food Bank for their Christmas in July event. We have selected them to be our Feature Community Organization of the Month.

Learn more or donate to food banks:

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Safety First: At Home Safety

UGI wants to be sure you know who you are letting into your home. It is important to have qualified professionals assist you with your energy and natural gas safety, but it is equally as important that you feel safe and comfortable with the professional in your home. Read June’s weekly safety tips to know what to expect when you need a qualified professional in your home:
1. Ask for ID before allowing anyone to enter your home. Beware of people posting as utility workers. At UGI, meter readers, inspectors and service representatives routinely wear blue uniforms with a UGI logo and drive marked, numbered vehicles. Be safe and ask for proper identification!
2. Please be advised that throughout the year UGI servicemen may be in your neighborhood performing inside safety inspections. These safety inspections are not prearranged appointments. The inspections usually take 10-15 minutes and are performed on a one or three year cycle based on the district in which you live. All servicemen performing these inspections will have on UGI attire and have photo identification. Please ask to see ID before allowing anyone into your home.
3. UGI is committed to ensuring the safety of our customers and the communities we serve. If you suspect someone is stealing utility service, please call us at (800) 276-2722 to report it. All calls are kept strictly confidential.
4. If you heat with coal, natural gas, oil, propane or wood you should periodically have your chimneys inspected by a professional. The exhaust of all combustible fuels, in combination with weather and time, can cause chimneys to deteriorate. Chimney deterioration can affect the efficiency of a home’s heating system and lead to a buildup of carbon monoxide in a home. That’s why periodic inspections are advised.
If you have any questions, please contact us at (800) 276-2722
Check UGI’s Facebook page every Thursday for the Safety Tip of the Week

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LED Street Lighting Helps Customers Save

New LED streetlight tariff available for UGI customers.

New LED streetlight tariff available for UGI customers.

Exciting new lighting system options are available to UGI customers that reduce energy consumption and increase savings. Light-emitting diode (LED) lights produce the same amount of light, sometimes more, as traditional high-pressure sodium lights, but consume half the power. LED lighting also comes with a 20-year guarantee, meaning little to no maintenance for the owner.

 

The new, customizable lighting system features:

  • Luminosity control of each light depending on their location and time of day
  • Reduced ‘uplight’ and ‘backlight’, focusing the light in the street, rather than shining into the windows of nearby homes.

In addition to their use as street lighting in municipalities, commercial and residential customers can enjoy the benefits of energy-efficient LED lighting systems as well as commercial/industrial sites, building exteriors, parking lots, recreational areas, construction sites, farms, and homes.

Concerned about the cost of a new lighting system? Municipalities, commercial, and residential customers throughout UGI’s service territory may be eligible for federal grants and energy efficiency rebates to purchase and install the new LED lighting systems.

The new LED lighting systems are available to customers through a special rate program, recently approved by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. In response to customer demand and the phase-out of some lighting options, new rate options for customers-owned lighting systems include an “energy-only” rate, which can reduce long-term maintenance costs for customers who purchase and install LED Outdoor Lighting.

For more information about outdoor lighting options, or to review the UGI Utilities-Electric Division Tariff, visit www.ugi.com/electric or call 1-800-276-2722.

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