Friday, June 26, 2009

Stormwater Answers to Blogger Questions

The following questions were received in the comments sections, were raised on neighborhood blogs, or are often asked at recent Council district information meetings. Here are the answers:

Q. How much did the City spend to determine the amount of impervious square feet on every parcel?

A. The GIS mapping technology utilized to perform the calculations was and is also in use within the Departments of Community Development and Public Works. As a result, DPU was able to utilize the same technology already in place and incurred only the cost for the processing and clean-up of the building and transportation GIS layers from DPW and DCD. That cost was approximately $20,000.

Q. Where are the incentives for conservation for homeowners?

At this time the City is unable to offer credits for homeowners who utilize methods to capture and use stormwater runoff. This is based on the way the City charter is written. The City does have plans to introduce legislation to the General Assembly whereby residents may obtain credits for the implementation of various methods to capture stormwater runoff (i.e. rain barrels, rain gardens, pervious pavers, etc.)

Q. Why do multifamily units cost more?

Multifamily residential units cost more because the amount of impervious area of these structures (roofs, parking lots, sidewalks, etc.) is usually larger and therefore generates more stormwater runoff.

Q. Will VCU be required to pay the stormwater utility fee?

Yes. VCU will be required to pay the stormwater utility fee. However, because they are a non-residential property, they do have the ability to apply for a partial credit of up to 50 percent by implementing methods that would significantly reduce the quality and quantity of stormwater runoff from their property.

The only properties that are granted a full waiver of the stormwater utility fee are undeveloped properties, public streets and roadways, cemeteries and *City of Richmond owned properties.

*Note: Richmond Public Schools and properties owned by RRHA are NOT owned by the City of Richmond and therefore will be required to pay.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Natural Gas is Best on the Block

Department of Public Utilities Communications Manager Angela Fountain (below, right) presents a gas bill credit to Clark and Melanie Lambert of Northside. The couple won WWBT 12's Best on the Block backyard makeover, which included an outdoor kitchen and natural gas grill. Natural gas grills can be connected to a home's gas service, eliminating the need for propane tanks. Call 646-0177 today and find out how you can get a backyard makeover of your own with a natural gas outdoor kitchen.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Natural Gas Costs Less

Natural gas costs less to use this year than other major home energy sources, says the Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Electricity will cost families roughly three times as much as natural gas.

The least expensive way to heat a home in 2009 is with a high-efficiency (94 percent) natural gas furnance, according to the American Gas Association's analysis of DOE cost projections.

For more information, read the press release.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Utility Talk wins public relations award

Utility Talk, the Department of Public Utilities’ quarterly customer newsletter, won Best in Show at the 2009 Virginia Public Relations Awards, June 3.

Best in Show is the entry with the highest judges’ score. Judges called it “very effective, creative, diverse, great use of graphics and layout, features short and to the point, timely and easy to read. This offers just enough information that a customer would most likely read all of the content!” One judge commented that she learned about mercaptan, the additive added to natural gas that gives it its distinctive smell.

Utility Talk also received a Bronze Medallion in the newsletter category. Utility Talk, which began in 1993, was produced in house for the first time last year by the DPU communications division and is distributed in the utility bills to 124,000 customers in the city and Henrico County and is available online. Bronze categories are for tactical elements of public relations strategies.

Utility Talk has been written and designed by Mariane Jorgenson since 2008.

Monday, June 1, 2009

DPU Employees Accept SCC Conference Awards

The City of Richmond received two awards at the recent State Corporation Commission’s Damage Prevention Conference.

Al Scott, an administrative project analyst, accepted a Certificate of Appreciation for supporting Virginia’s 2008 Underground Utility Damage Prevention Education and Awareness Campaign.

Operations Manager Carl James received an individual award for his assistance in the recent extrication of a man from a collapsed trench. James responded to the call and coordinated the efforts of a Henkels & McCoy vacuum truck crew to help free the man.

Posted by Mariane Jorgenson