Monday, December 21, 2015

Customer Photos!

Brandon Covey cooks a delicious dinner on his natural gas stove. Submitted by Emily Prince.

Lorrie White's daughter, Emma, entertains their goldendoodle Josie in front of their natural gas fireplace in Glen Allen.
Jenn Henry’s husband Christopher is at their natural gas stove slicing a pizza while his friend Scott learns how to throw the dough.
Mary Nardo’s Pembroke Welsh Corgis Wellington (front) and his older sister, Jitterbug, enjoy their natural gas fireplace in Western Henrico. The family has been happy natural gas customers for 13 years.

Karen Mullins of the Brightwood neighborhood in Northside decorates the mantel of her natural gas fireplace instead of a tree. "A warm gas fireplace makes it all so holiday cozy," especially for her dog, Abby!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Get a 10 Percent Discount on Flood Insurance

Jonet  Prevost-White (center), Stormwater operations manager, accepted on behalf of the Stormwater Division, an award from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for participating in the National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System. The department qualified by undertaking a series of meaningful activities to protect residents from losses caused by flooding and exceeding the requirements for effective floodplain management. Presenting the award before City Council was Mari Radford, a mitigation planner for FEMA (second from left). Also attending were Gay Stokes, Stormwater community liaison (not pictured), Stuart Platt, DPU engineer (right), Chul Chong from the Department of Public Works (second from right) and Charles Kline from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (left).

The City of Richmond participates in the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) Community Rating System (CRS), which currently means you can get a 10 percent discount on your flood insurance policies.

What is CRS?
CRS is a voluntary program sponsored by the National Flood Insurance Program through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). It promotes and encourages community floodplain management activities that go above and beyond what is required.

How will this impact me?
For each specific activity the City of Richmond does to educate and reach out to citizens about the floodplain, flood prone areas, how to protect property or flood insurance, the city earn points and receives a class level. For each class level the city achieves, flood insurance policy holders receive a 5 percent discount. There are 10 class levels, 10 being the lowest with no discount. When the program began in October 2015, the City of Richmond’s flood insurance policy holders received a Class 8, meaning a 10 percent discount on their flood insurance policies. 

Where can I find out more information?
The best information can be found at Contact the Water Resources Division for the City of Richmond at 804-646-7586 to find out more about your property. An interactive FEMA floodplain map can be found on the city’s website at
Check frequently for more information as it becomes available.

Lower Fuel Costs for Richmond Natural Gas Customers

Beginning with the first utility bills in January 2016, natural gas customers of the city of Richmond Department of Public Utilities (DPU) will see a savings on their monthly utility bill.  Mayor Dwight C. Jones has authorized DPU to lower the Purchased Gas Cost (PGC) portion of the natural gas utility bill from $0.425 to $0.325 per Ccf (100 cubic feet). Other components of the natural gas bill – the distribution charge and customer charge – are unchanged.      

The PGC rate of the average residential customer who uses 70 Ccf’s of natural gas per month will pay approximately $71.11 compared to a current bill of $78.11. This equates to a 24 percent reduction in the PGC rate charged by the City and an overall ten (10) percent reduction in the entire natural gas bill.  

At the time of this release, DPU’s PGC rate is less than or equal to surrounding natural gas franchises. Mayor Jones stated, “This is more good news for our customers. We are always pleased when we are in a position to offer significant savings. The City continues to review and adjust the gas costs on a quarterly basis to reflect the price that DPU pays for natural gas and we’ve been able to steadily reduce the costs over the past year.  By law, we pass along the cost of the natural gas purchased and delivered to our customers, dollar for dollar without any markup.”   


Ask Utility Buddy: Our Hot Water Doesn't Last Through Two Showers

Ask Utility Buddy recently received a question from two roommates who think something is wrong with their water heater because there is never enough hot water for both of them to take showers.

They said they each spend about 10 minutes in the shower.

A 10 minute shower uses 50 gallons of water. The average water heater holds about 50 gallons, so the first person in the shower gets enough hot water. But the second roommate has an issue if they want to take their 10 minute shower immediately afterward or at the same time in another bathroom. It takes two hours for an electric water heater to fully recover and reheat another 50 gallons.

This is one of the clear advantages of a natural gas powered water heater, as natural gas would reheat 50 gallons in an hour or less. (Tankless natural gas water heaters heat as the water goes through the pipes, so there is no waiting time at all.) The roommates think their water heater is electric, so here are their options:

Second roommate will have to wait two hours before he or she takes their shower. Or....

Each roommate can make an agreement and set a timer to take a shorter shower, 5 minutes or less. You can do it!

Add an insulating blanket to your water heater to speed up the recovery and  keep the water as warm as possible as new cold water enters to refill the tank.

Ask your landlord to check if one of the heating elements on the water heater has burnt out. If that's the case, it is taking considerably longer for the water heater to recover and the hot water runs out quickly, even before the first shower ends.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

How Much Water Am I Using?

Household faucets - 3-5 gallons a minute when running
Shower - 5-10 gallons a minute
Tub bath - 50 gallons if full
Dishwasher - 15-20 gallons per load
Washing machine - 35 gallons per average full load cycle
Lawn watering - 35 gallons per half acre
Dripping faucet - 1,000 gallons per year

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Citizens Academy - Stormwater

Gay Stokes talks about stormwater education and outreach, picking up after your dog, installing rain barrels, fertilizing in the fall, keeping litter out of drains.

Program Manager Darryl Rivers speaks about stormwater maintenance and prepares participants
for the trolley tour of stormwater maintenance projects.

Horace Todd talks about the retention basins along the sidewalks on 9th Street.

A Southside neighborhood that needed drainage assistance.

Part of Citizens' Academy is a trolley tour of stormwater projects


Class of 2015

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Citizens' Academy at the Water Plant

New settling tank

The new tank will look like this one, finished last year

Water can be harvested for testing from every tank by these cups all around the plant.

Finished water ready to be pumped to every part of town and Henrico

Gilbert, the current Water Plant dog, is available for adoption. This is one very relaxed pit who needs to be around people. Right now the plant is perfect since it is staffed 24 hours a day.