Posts tagged “patrick mcintyre

Metallic balloons and power lines don’t mix

black and red metal rod

By Patrick McIntyre, CSU Energy Coordinator

With social distancing in place because of the COVID-19 outbreak, people are finding new ways to celebrate events and milestones without the typical parties and get-togethers.

And what’s a birthday or graduation without balloons, especially those shiny, helium-filled foil balloons that are all the rage. They are called Mylar balloons and come in various shapes and sizes and can represent numbers and letters.

Unfortunately, they can also be hazardous.

When released, these festive balloons can get caught in high voltage power lines. The metallic coating conducts electricity and causes short circuits when entangled in power lines.

Stray Mylar balloons entangled in overhead lines in the last week caused two electric outages for hundreds of College Station residents. Such disruptions can cover a large area for two hours or more while we clear the balloons and repair damaged equipment.

Power outages not only inconvenience our customers, but they also jeopardize public safety and cause lost revenue for businesses. Two years ago, a stray balloon caused an outage and lengthy delay during a Major League Baseball game at Dodger Stadium.

This recent report by an Arizona news station illustrates the issue:

College Station Utilities offers five tips to help prevent outages when celebrating birthdays, graduations and other events with Mylar balloons:

  1. Never allow Mylar balloons to be released outside. Keep the balloons indoors when possible.
  2. Make sure Mylar balloons are securely tied to a weight heavy enough to keep them from floating away. Never remove the weight.
  3. Don’t bundle Mylar balloons together.
  4. When your celebration is over, cut the balloons up and throw them away. Even a semi-inflated balloon can become airborne.
  5. Never try to retrieve anything that gets caught in a power line.

To report objects caught in power lines, call 911. To report outages, call 855-528-4278, and have your account number ready.

 


0000072EPAbout the Blogger

CSU Energy Coordinator Patrick McIntyre is responsible for energy conservation and key accounts programs. Pat joined CSU as a key accounts representative in 2009. He previously worked for 17 years in the manufacturing sector and eight years as a consultant with the Texas Engineering Extension Service. Pat graduated from Texas A&M in 1982 with B.S. in Industrial Distribution and has lived in the area since 1984.

 


 

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Electric lineman work to keep our power flowing

By Patrick McIntyre, CSU Energy Coordinator

Since the invention of the Edison lightbulb in 1879, electric linemen have been keeping the nation energized. More than 227,000 men and women install and maintain the nation’s nine million miles of electric grid that meet our power needs, including the 28 who serve at College Station Utilities.

That’s why the United States Congress and the City of College Station are recognizing Saturday as National Lineman Appreciation Day (#ThankaLineman) as a way to honor the hard-working folks who protect public safety and energize our economy by keeping the power on.

Linemen are also an essential part of the first-responder community alongside police officers, firefighters, and paramedics. In most cases, other first responders can see their emergency issues, but electricity is invisible, which makes for an extremely hazardous environment during storms. While big events require all-hands-on-deck, most routine trouble calls are handled by two-person crews.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, being an electric lineman ranks among the 10 most dangerous jobs. Unlike most occupations, linemen spend a large part of their working lives well above the ground maintaining electrical infrastructure. Our linemen work with voltages as high as 138,000 volts and as low as the standard 120-volt power in your home.

College Station Utilities is also committed to the construction of reliable, underground utilities. Our electric grid is nearly 60 percent underground, which requires our electric personnel to be knowledgeable in both overhead and underground systems.

Please join us in thanking the highly skilled and dedicated linemen who work all hours of the day, often in hazardous conditions, to keep your lights on.

 


0000072EPAbout the Blogger

Patrick McIntyre is energy coordinator for College Station Utilities and is responsible for the energy conservation and key accounts programs. Pat joined CSU as a key accounts representative in 2009. He previously worked for 17 years in the manufacturing sector and eight years as a consultant with the Texas Engineering Extension Service. Pat graduated from Texas A&M in 1982 with B.S. in Industrial Distribution and has lived in the area since 1984.

 


 

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10 ways to trim your household energy costs

By Patrick McIntyre, CSU Energy Coordinator

With College Station residents sheltering in place during the COVID-19 outbreak, households are using substantially more electricity. 

Here are 10 ways you can trim your electric costs:

  1. The most essential step is raising your thermostat setting. Just two degrees above your usual setting can cut your cooling costs by five percent. 
  2. Use ceiling fans rather than air conditioning as much as possible. Fans use about as much energy as a light bulb.
  3. Turn off lights, fans, and electronics when a room is unoccupied.
  4. Replace incandescent and CFL lighting with low-wattage LEDs, which use 50-90 percent less energy.
  5. Do your laundry in the evening or at night when temperatures are cooler.
  6. Use cold water to wash your clothes.
  7. Run your dishwasher only when you have a full load.
  8. Check your air conditioning filter and replace it frequently. Dirty filters can increase costs by about 20 percent.
  9. Consider a Wi-Fi programmable thermostat, which allows precise control of your cooling system.
  10. 10. Take advantage of our Energy Back IIResidential LED Lighting, and Connected Thermostat rebates.

Report power outages, water line breaks, wastewater spills, and backups, and other electric, water, or wastewater problems to 855.528.4278 — and have your CSU account number ready. Our dispatch operates 24 hours a day. 

Despite the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on our community, College Station Utilities remains committed to providing you with reliable electric power while taking the proper precautions to protect the health and safety of our staff.

For more information on how to reduce your electricity costs, contact me at pmcintyre@cstx.gov or 979-764-6343. For billing questions, contact Utility Customer Service at 979-764-3535. 

 


0000072EPAbout the Blogger

Patrick McIntyre is the energy coordinator for College Station Utilities and is responsible for energy conservation and key accounts programs. Pat joined CSU as a key accounts representative in 2009. He previously worked for 17 years in the manufacturing sector and eight years as a consultant with the Texas Engineering Extension Service. Pat graduated from Texas A&M in 1982 with B.S. in Industrial Distribution and has lived in the area since 1984.

 


 

If you found value in this blog post, please share it with your social network and friends!

 


Brave linemen dedicated to keeping your power on

By Patrick McIntyre, CSU Energy Coordinator

Since the invention of the Edison lightbulb in 1879, electric linemen have been keeping the nation energized. More than 227,000 men and women install and maintain the nation’s nine million miles of electric grid that meet our power needs, including the 28 who serve at College Station Utilities.

That’s why the United States Congress and the City of College Station are recognizing Thursday as National Lineman Appreciation Day (#ThankaLineman) as a way to honor the hard-working folks who protect public safety and energize our economy by keeping the power on.

Linemen are also an essential part of the first-responder community alongside police officers, firefighters, and paramedics. In most cases, other first responders can see their emergency issues, but electricity is invisible, which makes for an extremely hazardous environment during storms. While big events require all-hands-on-deck, most routine trouble calls are handled by two-person crews.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, being an electric lineman ranks among the 10 most dangerous jobs. Unlike most occupations, linemen spend a large part of their working lives well above the ground maintaining electrical infrastructure. Our linemen work with voltages as high as 138,000 volts and as low as the standard 120-volt power in your home.

College Station Utilities is also committed to the construction of reliable, underground utilities. Our electric grid is more than 56 percent underground, which requires our electric personnel to be knowledgeable in both overhead and underground systems.

Please join us in thanking the highly skilled and dedicated linemen who work all hours of the day, often in hazardous conditions, to keep your lights on.

 


0000072EPAbout the Blogger

Patrick McIntyre is energy coordinator for College Station Utilities and is responsible for the energy conservation and key accounts programs. Pat joined CSU as a key accounts representative in 2009. He previously worked for 17 years in the manufacturing sector and eight years as a consultant with the Texas Engineering Extension Service. Pat graduated from Texas A&M in 1982 with B.S. in Industrial Distribution and has lived in the area since 1984.

 


 

If you found value in this blog post, please share it with your social network and friends!