Beware of Scam

Today a scammer began making both pre-recorded and live outbound calls to Union Power members as well as non-members, requesting payments for “past due” bill amounts.  The scammer used software that allowed “spoofing”, or displaying, of one of our numbers. The phone number that was used is 704.218.8002and is an attempt to legitimize the scamming effort. 

In the live calls, the scammer may be notified by the call recipient that they are not a Union Power member, at which time the scammer attempts to interest the caller in other services, on behalf of Union Power, including discounted college funding, in an attempt to gain access to bank account and credit card data.

Union Power officials have contacted the telephone company to see what type of recourse can be done. Verizon and the other carriers have been lobbying the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for months, seeking permission to assist customers by screening these scammer calls.  Carriers are hopeful the FCC will soon allow carriers to act on these situations.

Please rest assure that your account information nor personal information has not been compromised. If you receive a call, please do not share your personal information with them. If you have questions, please call our customer service department at 704.289.3145.

Safety on all Sides

As technology advances, so do the tools and equipment we use at Union Power Cooperative. With the increase in new residential construction in our service area, more and more power lines are being installed underground. While special tools and safety equipment is required to keep our linemen safe on overhead lines, the same principle applies when working on underground lines.

Did you know that transformers must be installed with front doors facing away from a building or residence? A four-foot clearance on all sides and a 10-foot clearance in the front of the equipment (the side with the lock), are also requirements. These distances are needed to permit our linemen to safely access, operate and maintain the equipment.

Just as blocking a fire hydrant is a safety hazard, so is blocking access to electrical equipment. In the event of an outage or other type of emergency, utility crews need quick access to unlock and open the transformer cover. A common example is a house fire, where power must be turned off to allow firefighters to safely enter the home and extinguish the blaze. Any effort and time wasted in removing shrubs, fences or other obstructions around the transformer could result in further loss of property or even loss of life.

With high-voltage power flowing through the lines, it is also important to note that padmounted transformers are cooled by air. Do not place any obstructions over or near the transformer. If obstructions block proper air circulation, the oil in the equipment may overheat, resulting in oil leakage and/or equipment failure, which can lead to power outages. 

While underground padmount transformers may not be the most attractive lawn ornaments, they are necessary for supplying you with the reliable power you expect from your cooperative.

For questions on transformer clearance requirements and proper planting procedures near underground padmount transformers, visit us at union-power.com/underground-equipment-safety.   

Move Over for Crews

When the power goes out, so do Union Power Cooperative’s line crews. Line workers are the first to respond after an outage occurs, and they work tirelessly to restore power to the communities we serve.

If you’re traveling and see one of our crews on the side of the road, we kindly ask that you move over if possible and give them a little extra space to work. We deeply care about the safety of all, and this extra precaution ensures just that.

If you approach a crew while traveling on a two-lane road in North Carolina, moving over isn’t an option. The North Carolina “Move Over” law requires motorists to slow down, move over if possible, and approach cautiously when a utility vehicle is stopped on the side of the road restoring electrical service during an unplanned event such as a hurricane or ice storm. If you approach a crew while traveling on a four-lane road, and safety and traffic conditions allow, we ask that you move over into the far lane.

 

Utility crews aren’t the only ones who could use the extra space. Emergency responders, such as police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians, often find themselves responding to emergency situations near busy roadways. We ask that you follow the same procedures mentioned above to help keep these crews safe.

There’s plenty of room for all. Let’s work together to keep everyone safe on our local roadways.

Properly Sizing your HVAC Unit

When the “rule of thumb” doesn’t work

When it comes to your home’s HVAC system, are you suffering from the Goldilocks Syndrome? Perhaps your system is too big or too small – or maybe it’s just right. The Department of Energy study shows that most HVAC systems don’t run as efficiently as they could because they are not installed correctly or they are the wrong size. This translates to not having the comfort level you are seeking and over-paying on your utility bills – all the more reason to determine the right size system for your home. According to Terry Townsend, president of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), “oversizing is common in commercial as well as residential applications because contractors use the rule-of-thumb sizing – a load calculation based on square footage.” Unfortunately, this type of simple calculation is outdated, which could cost you money.

Is your unit too big?

Why is an oversized system problematic for the average homeowner? Heating and cooling account for more than half of the energy use in a typical U.S. home. So, if your HVAC unit is too big, it means that it may be “short cycling,” or constantly turning off and on. When the unit runs in short bursts, it will not run long enough to eliminate all of the humidity in your home. If you are in a warmer climate and rely on the air conditioning mode, it could mean a short-cycling system leaves more moisture in the air, making your home feel sticky and warm; this can also lead to growth of mold and mildew. Heating and cooling in short bursts results in uneven temperatures and hot or cold spots in your home. Lastly, the unit’s parts wear down prematurely.

Or is it too small?

On the other hand, if your HVAC equipment is too small, you have a different problem – the unit is constantly running in order to try to keep up with demand. This also means that your space is never heated or cooled adequately, and you have unnecessarily high energy bills.

To size right, choose the right energy professional

So, how can you ensure that you get the right size HVAC system for your home? There are several factors to consider, but it all starts with choosing the right professional energy partner. Union Power Cooperative’s subsidiary, Union Services, has a staff of knowledgeable and licensed HVAC professionals to help you find the HVAC system that’s the perfect fit for your home.

7 Simple, No-cost Ways to Stay Cool this Summer

It’s August, and it’s hot. Not just hot, but that thick, sweltering, “we’ve already dealt with this for two months” kind of hot. Autumn’s crispness is just around the corner, but until then, hang in there – and save energy – with these seven simple tips for tackling summer’s remaining heat.

  1. Shift your use.

Use major appliances like dishwashers, as well as clothes washers and dryers, during early morning or late evening and overnight hours. These big appliances not only generate heat but also introduce moisture to your home, and that’s an introduction you don’t want to make during the hottest part of the day.

 2. Keep kitchens cool.

An indoor stove or oven can raise the temperature in your kitchen by as much as 5 to 10 degrees, which is just way too much at this point in the summer. Take advantage of an outdoor grill or indoor microwave or crockpot instead. Another option? All salads all the time.

 3Turn it off.

Lights, particularly incandescent lights, as well as common household appliances generate heat when they are on and in use. Like mama said, turn off the lights! Better yet – consider switching to more efficient bulbs like LEDs (light emitting diodes), which generate much less heat. You can also go the extra mile by unplugging appliances when they’re not in use. Think: computers, game consoles and televisions. 

  1. Feel the breeze.

Use portable fans and/or ceiling fans to chill out. Make sure ceiling fans are running counter clockwise to push cool air down. Although fans don’t technically change the temperature of the room, they can make you feel 3 to 4 degrees cooler – a definite win!

  1. Keep the sunshine out.

Close blinds, shades and curtains, especially on windows that get direct sun to block light and heat.

  1. Introduce an open door policy.

Keep the doors to rooms inside your home open so air can flow through naturally. The teenagers in your home will love this one.

  1. Replace and remove.

Replace dirty air filters to increase the efficiency of your HVAC system and the air flow within your home. Removing furniture, rugs or other obstructions from your return registers also helps.