Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is August 20, 2018

Can landscaping save money on your energy bill?

Landscaping not only adds beauty to your home and community, but it’s also a cost-effective way to improve your home’s comfort and lower your energy bills. In fact, a well-designed landscape saves enough energy to pay for itself in less than eight years while also reducing water use, cutting heating and cooling costs, protecting your home from cold winter wind and hot summer sun and lowering noise and air pollution at the same time.

Widespread tree planting and climate-appropriate landscaping offers substantial environmental benefits and is a great long-term investment for reducing energy costs. The National Academy of Sciences estimates filling urban spaces with trees would result in an annual energy savings of 50 billion kilowatt-hours or $3.5 billion each year.

Landscaping for Shade

Shading is the most cost-effective way to reduce solar heat gain in your home and cut air conditioning costs. Carefully positioned trees can save up to 25 percent of a household’s energy consumption for heating and cooling, and the U.S. Department of Energy predicts that only three trees will save an average household between $100 and $250 a year in energy costs. An entire well-planned landscape can reduce an unshaded home’s air conditioning costs by 15 to 50 percent.

A six-to-eight-foot deciduous tree planted near your home will begin shading windows the first year and shade the roof in five to ten years. Shading an air conditioner can increase its efficiency by as much as ten percent. Because air settles near the ground, air temperatures directly under trees can be as much as 25 degrees cooler than air temperatures above nearby blacktop – meaning summer daytime air temps are usually six degrees cooler in tree-shaded neighborhoods than in treeless areas.

When landscaping for shade, plant deciduous trees to the south of your house so they can screen 70 to 90 percent of the hot summer sun while allowing breezes through. Plant trees with crowns lower to the ground on the west if you want to shade from lower, afternoon sun angles, and plant bushes, shrubs or climbing vines with a trellis to shade your patio area. To cool air before it reaches your home, plant shrubs and groundcover plants.

If you’re planning on adding trees to your property, it’s important to know where you plant them in relation to power lines. Tall trees can grow into overhead power lines, while roots can damage underground power lines. Trees planted directly underneath overhead power lines should have a mature height of 25 feet or less. Trees between 25-and-35-feet should be planted more than 25 feet away, and trees more than 35-feet tall should be planted more than 50-feet away from power lines. Before you do any digging, always call 811 so buried lines can be marked and you can dig safely around them.

Landscaping for Windbreaks

A windbreak reduces heating costs by lowering the wind chill near your home creating dead air space that insulates your home in the winter. Trees can be used as windbreaks to shield your house from the wind, and recent studies have found that windbreaks to the north, west and east of houses cut energy consumption by an average of 40 percent. If you live in a windy area, a well-planned landscape can reduce heating bills by approximately one-third.

When landscaping for windbreaks, the distance between your home and windbreak should be two to five times the height of the mature tree for maximum protection. Plant evergreen trees and shrubs to the north and northwest of your home to stop wind, and plant trees on either side of your house to direct cooling wind toward it in the summer. 

Landscaping for Water Conservation

It’s easy to plan your landscape to not only save energy but also to conserve water. Familiarize yourself with your yard’s features and the temperate climate region of Arkansas. Plants suited to the region require less care and less water. Landscape professionals can always help you choose which trees, shrubs or ground cover will work best for your needs.

When landscaping for water conservation, always group plants with similar water needs together and aerate your soil – it improves water flow to plants’ roots and reduces wasted water runoff. Remember to water in the morning when it’s cooler and water evaporation rates are low, and use mulch to keep plant roots cool, further minimizing evaporation and recurring weed growth. In the summer, raise your lawn mower cutting height – the longer grass blades help shade each and retain more water.

It’s not possible to control temperatures, but an energy-saving landscape can significantly modify the micro-climate surrounding your home keeping it warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. If the landscape is well-planned, installed and maintained, you will save on energy costs while increasing the value of your home.

Homeowners interested in more energy-saving tips should visit Conway Corporation’s Energy Smart website here or call 450-6000.

Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is August 20, 2018

Customers should beware of utility scam

Conway Corporation has been notified of a scam targeting utility customers in which someone impersonating a Conway Corp employee demands payment on supposedly delinquent bills. The scammer claims that services will be shut off unless the consumer pays by a prepaid debit card or wire transfer, instead of a traditionally accepted form of payment. Consumers who receive this type of call or email should hang up and call Conway Corp directly.

Conway Corp officials are  urging customers not to act upon this type of request.

“If you have any concerns about your payment or disconnection of services, please contact Conway Corp directly," Billing Services Manager Edie Turner said. “Conway Corp does not call or visit customers demanding immediate payment under threat of disconnection.”

If you believe you are a victim of this scam, notify the Conway Police Department and the state attorney general's office. If you believe your Conway Corp account has been affected, call 501-450-6000 to speak with a Conway Corp customer service representative.

Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is August 20, 2018

Eight employees celebrate 25 plus years of service

We’ve come a long way since we began operating Conway’s electric light plant in 1929, and we owe much of our success to our employees – the men and women who proudly serve this community 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

This month, Conway Corporation would like to recognize four employees who are celebrating milestone anniversaries and have each been with the company 25 years or more.

Bob Fason is celebrating 26 years with Conway Corporation. Bob was hired in August 1989 as a Laborer in the Water Department. He transferred to the Cabled Department in January 1994 as a Cable Installer Trainee and became a Cable Technician in August 1994. He was promoted to CATV Maintenance Foreman in October 2001 and Cable Maintenance Superintendent in January 2007. Bob is currently the CATV Maintenance/Trouble Superintendent and directly coordinates the activities of the cable maintenance and trouble technicians.

Mike Brakebill is celebrating 26 years with Conway Corporation. Mike was hired in August 1989 as a Laborer in the Water Department. In March 2005, he was promoted to Water Systems Foreman where he oversees and coordinates the activities of utility workers who clean, repair and install water system pipes, manholes, hydrants and valves for the entire Conway water system.

Ronnie Davie is celebrating 28 years with Conway Corporation. Ronnie was hired in 1987 as a Laborer in the Water Department and was promoted in June 1992 to Water Systems Foreman. In March 2005, he was promoted to Water Systems Senior Foreman where he oversees and coordinates the activities of utility workers who clean, repair and install water system pipes, manholes, hydrants and valves for the entire Conway water system.

Tony VanPelt is celebrating 30 years with Conway Corporation. Tony was hired in August 1985 as a Groundman in the Electric Department and began the Apprentice Lineman program in September 1989. He transferred to the Engineering and Planning Department in November 1996 as an Electric Systems Designer and was promoted in October 2010 to CATV Senior Project Manager. Tony directs the planning, designing and coordinating of engineering work activities within and outside the utility while advising staff on reception, distribution, headend and special studies.

Jody Smith is celebrating 33 years with Conway Corporation. Jody was hired August 1982 as a Cable Installer in the Cable Department and was promoted in May 1989 to Systems Sweep Technician. In December 2000 he was promoted to Assistant Superintendent of Telecommunications and again to CATV Systems Assistant Manager in January 2007. In July 2014, Jody was promoted to Cable Telecommunication System Manager where he directs and coordinates the entire operation of Conway Corporation’s CATV system.

Henry Mason is celebrating 35 years with Conway Corporation. Henry was hired in August 1980 as a Groundman in the Electric Department and soon entered the Apprentice Lineman program. In October 1995, he was promoted to Senior Lineman and was promoted to Electric Foreman in May 2015. Henry directs and coordinates his own electric crew in the field to ensure Conway residents receive consistent, reliable electric service.

Greg King is celebrating 36 years with Conway Corporation. Greg was hired in August 1979 as Water Plant Operator and still holds that position today. Greg operates and maintains stationary mechanical equipment such as water pumping equipment engines, air compressors, generators, motors, turbines and chemical insertion units to provide water to Conway residents.

Richie Arnold is celebrating 37 years with Conway Corporation. Richie was hired in August 1978 in the Data Processing Department and eventually served as the manager of that department until he was promoted to the Finance and Accounting Manager. In October 1996, he was promoted to Chief Financial Officer and named Chief Executive Officer in April 1998. Richie provides leadership to the entire organization and implements strategic goals and objectives while working with the board of directors to fulfill its function. He gives direction and leadership toward the achievement of Conway Corp’s philosophy, mission strategies and objectives and recruits and develops the company’s leadership team.

Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is August 20, 2018

Customer Newsletter: Tommy Pratt retires after 42 years

Senior Foreman Tommy Pratt joined the Conway Corp electric department on August 20, 1973. Forty-two years later on August 20, 2015, he will enter retirement. 

“When I met Garland Bradley (former electric department manager) he asked me, ‘Do you know anything about electricity?’ and I told him no. He said he liked it that way. He’d teach me,” Pratt said. And he did. 

Pratt began as a groundman and has served in various roles – making his way as a journeymen lineman, senior lineman and foreman.

“Things have definitely changed,” he said. “When I was first able to start climbing, we climbed every day. We have better equipment now and that means climbing is less frequent today. It is still necessary, but may not be every day.”

“The safety requirements are stricter too, which is good. You have to be careful or you don’t go home."

The thing that hasn’t changed is the camaraderie among linemen.

“It is a brotherhood,” Pratt said. “You have to have a trust, a bond. I never had any brothers, so to have thirty of them – well, that is what I will miss the most, the camaraderie.”

Pratt commented that the most difficult thing about retiring was telling Electric Distribution Systems Manager Jim Moore about his departure.

“He’s a good friend and I am going to miss him,” Moore said.

“Tommy taught me. He taught me how to climb, how to work in a hot zone. He will be missed by me, our department and by our customers.”

Moore added that Pratt has always put Conway Corp customers first. 

“I have always liked helping people and when your job lets you do that, it means a lot,” Pratt said.

In addition to time for hunting and fishing, Pratt is looking forward to time with his four grandchildren.

“They're at an age where they like to fish, ride 4-wheelers; we go to movies. I want to enjoy this time with them.”

Pratt also anticipates traveling more in a few years when his wife, Mitzi retires.

“I have been blessed with a wonderful wife, two great kids, which in turn have given me four fabulous grandkids. A wonderful job, working with great people along the way. It is time to enjoy family and life. God is good.”

Thank you Tommy – for your service to Conway Corp and to Conway.

Click here to read more about Tommy or to read other articles from the Summer 2015 Customer Newsletter including the launch of Conway Corp Home Security and Automation.

Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is August 20, 2018

Energy Smart Essay & Poster Contest

Energy is an essential part of our daily lives. We use energy every day at home, at school and even when we’re playing.  Energy powers our computers and televisions; gives us light in the dark and even heats and cools our home. Because energy is so important, it’s important to use it wisely by being efficient.

Energy conservation is any behavior that results in the use of less energy, while energy efficiency is the use of technology that requires less energy to perform the same function. Here are a few things kids can do to start saving energy at home:

  • Turn off all lights, ceiling fans and appliances like the television when you leave a room.
  • When it’s sunny outside, open the curtains and use the sunlight instead of turning on the lights.
  • Don’t leave windows or doors open when the heat or air conditioning is on.
  • Help hang clothes outside to dry on a sunny day instead of using the dryer.
  • Ask your parents to install energy-saving CFL light bulbs and set the thermostat to 68 degrees in the winter and 78 in the summer.

Do you have some ideas and thoughts on how to conserve electricity and energy so we can power an energy smart future? Show Conway Corporation what you and your family do at home to conserve energy by entering the third annual Conway Corporation Energy Smart Poster and Essay Contest.

The poster contest is open to students K-4th grade in Conway. Students should use their imagination to create a drawing colored with crayons, markers, colored pencils or paints to illustrate the 2015 contest theme, “Powering an Energy Smart Future.” Entries will be judged on creativity and theme representation. Winning posters will be on display during Public Power Week, October 4-10. Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place winners. The classroom of the overall winner will also be awarded $100 in that student’s name along with an Energy Smart pizza party.

The essay contest is open to students 5th-12th grade in Conway. Students should submit a typed essay of no more than 1,000 words on the 2015 contest theme, “Powering an Energy Smart Future.” Entries will be judged on content and syntax. The winning essays will be featured during Public Power Week, and cash prizes will awarded for first, second and third place to winners in two age categories: 5th-7th and 8th-12th.

All students K-12th who live in the Conway Corporation service area are eligible. Click here for an official entry form and contest rules. Entries should be submitted to participating teachers or postmarked to Conway Corporation 1307 Prairie Street Conway AR 72034 by Wednesday, September 30. Email essay entries in MS Word or .pdf format. A scanned copy of the entry form plus contact information must accompany all electronic submissions. Please put 2015 Essay Contest in the subject line.

Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is August 20, 2018

Eight employees celebrate 25 plus years of service

We’ve come a long way since we began operating Conway’s electric light plant in 1929, and we owe much of our success to our employees – the men and women who proudly serve this community 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

This month, Conway Corporation would like to recognize eight employees who are celebrating milestone anniversaries and have each been with the company 25 years or more.

Brent Clark is celebrating 36 years with Conway Corporation. Brent was hired in July 1979 as a wastewater plant operator and continues that position today. He operates and maintains stationary mechanical equipment at the wastewater plant including water pumping equipment engines, air compressors, generators, motors, turbines and chemical insertion units.

Randy Ethridge is celebrating 27 years with Conway Corporation. Randy was hired in July 1988 as a groundman and was promoted to underground service technician in November 1998. Randy installs, maintains and repairs underground electrical services and meter loops to help keep the lights on in Conway.

Tilden Fulmer is celebrating 36 years with Conway Corporation. Tilden was hired in July 1979 as a wastewater plant operator and was promoted to his current position as chief wastewater plant operator in January 1998. Tilden supervises the wastewater plant staff and ensures the plant is working safely and within state and national guidelines to provide Conway residents with a nationally-recognized wastewater system.

Jim Lawrence is celebrating 29 years with Conway Corporation. Jim was hired in July 1986 as a groundman and was promoted in 1996 to locator then to locator foreman in 1999. In October 2010, he was promoted to his current position, damage prevention foreman. Jim manages, coordinates and supervises the locating of Conway Corp utility lines to protect the lines and the public to potential hazards.

Steve Mahar is celebrating 42 years with Conway Corporation. Steve was hired in July 1973 as a water plant operator and currently holds that position today. He operates and maintains stationary mechanical equipment at the water plant including water pumping equipment engines, air compressors, generators, motors, turbines and chemical insertion units.

Tracy Moore is celebrating 28 years with Conway Corporation. Tracy was hired in July 1987 as the manager of data processing and was promoted to the manager of accounting services in 1996, In February 2012, he was promoted to his current position, manager of accounting, compliance and risk management. Tracy coordinates NERC/SERC compliance with appropriate regulatory bodies and is responsible for risk management activities and providing oversight for Conway Corp’s accounting function.

Liz Nixon is celebrating 35 years with Conway Corporation. Liz was hired in July 1980 as a secretary and currently works in the engineering department. She provides general support to engineering and operations staff and serves as the first point of contact for the public needing assistance from the department.

Mark Rowlett is celebrating 30 years with Conway Corporation. Mark was hired in July 1985 as a groundman and was promoted to a journeyman lineman in 1993. Mark was promoted to his current position, senior lineman, in January 2000. Mark supervises an electric crew who install, maintain and repair both overhead and underground electrical power distribution lines and accompany apparatus.

Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is August 20, 2018

Is it time to change the air filter in your home?

Conway Corporation’s Energy Smart program is one of the many ways we’re balancing increasing demands for electricity with our commitment to providing affordable rates to Conway residents. Now that the summer heat is officially here, it’s especially important for homeowners to understand how their air conditioners work to keep energy bills low and homes comfortable. Unfortunately, the highest level of interaction most of us have with our air conditioners comes from adjusting the thermostat.

Our air conditioners work hard to keep us cool, and air filters play an important role in that. Your air conditioner works by pulling in air from the outside, cooling it, then sending it throughout the home. When it pulls in air from the outside, it can also grab outside pollutants like dust, mold and allergies that get sent through your ductwork along with the cooled air.

This is why your filter is so important. The air filter’s job is to stop all the pollutants from reaching you while keeping your air fresh and germ free. After time, your filter gets dirty from all the pollutants it’s filtering out of the air. When this happens, you need to replace it.

Filters should be replaced about once a month for air conditioning units to work properly. If they are neglected, units will not run at peak performance and other negative effects could occur including:

  • Poor air quality
  • Higher energy bills
  • Inconsistent room temperatures
  • Expensive AC repairs
  • Reduced home comfort

Filters are made of a variety of materials and are rated by efficiency. What type of air filter we choose for our homes can have a huge impact on our air quality. It’s important you get the right kind of filter for your home’s needs. The minimum efficiency reporting value goes from 1-20 and is used to rate the filters. Generally for home central air units, you’ll want a filter between 5 and 12. These effectively filter mold, pet dander, household cleaning sprays, spores and more. As for the size, check what your unit needs simply by looking at the old filter.

While disposable filters have to be replaced once a month, changing them out is easy. Just remove the dirty filter, slide the new one into position, and you’re done. They typically have higher ratings than reusable filters and are more efficient at catching and trapping debris when changed regularly. Disposable filters are also pretty inexpensive depending on the type you choose.

Reusable filters require cleaning just as often as disposable filters require replacement, but can be manually cleaned and dried at your home. While they might cost a little more upfront, they may save money in the long run since you’re not replacing them as often. If cleaned regularly, a reusable filter can last up to five years.

No matter which filter you choose, having a fresh filter in your home can make a huge difference. Replacing or cleaning your home’s filter once a month will improve your home’s indoor air quality and reduce the amount of dust that collects in your home. Plus, your air conditioner will run much more efficiently when the filter is clean and that means it uses less energy to do its job meaning lower utility bills each month.

On average, the energy your air conditioner uses makes up about half of your energy bill each month, so spending a few dollars on a clean air conditioning filter can make a big difference on your monthly budget. 

To learn more the Energy Smart program or to read more energy saving tips, contact Conway Corporation at 501-450-6000 or click here.

Look for more Conway Corporation Energy Smart efficiency tips every month in 501 Life magazine.

Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is August 20, 2018

Rowlett, Spangler honored for safety, service

Conway Corporation recently honored Senior Lineman Mark Rowlett and Business Systems/End User Support Administrator Ben Spangler with awards for their exemplary work performance.

Conway Corporation is dedicated to exceeding customers’ expectations through the exceptional work of dedicated employees and recognizes two employees annually for their dedication – one in the area of safety and another in the area of customer service.

Rowlett received the Safety Leadership Award presented by Safety Director Steve Plant. Rowlett was nominated by fellow electric department employees who said he is "organized, efficient and works hard at doing the right thing for all concerned accomplishing his jobs in a safe and timely manner, regardless of the weather or difficulties that might arise. He strives to not only be a leader, but a safe one."

 

Spangler received the Customer Service Award presented by CEO Richard Arnold. He was also nominated by his coworkers for going above and beyond his job duties with one employee saying he has "shown over his years here that he values the customer service and satisfaction portion of his job duties. He often takes the extra time required to not only solve the problem at hand, but to listen to any of his customers’ concerns. Ben has formed many friendships across the company and this has had a direct impact on the satisfaction of his customers.”

“We are extremely proud of our employees and want to recognize those who continue to exceed customer expectations, said Arnold. The peer nominations submitted make these awards even more meaningful.” 

Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is August 20, 2018

Four employees celebrate 25-plus years of service

We’ve come a long way since we began operating Conway’s electric light plant in 1929, and we owe much of our success to our employees – the men and women who proudly serve this community 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

This month, Conway Corporation would like to recognize four employees who are celebrating milestone anniversaries and have each been with the company 25 years or more.

Mike Credit is celebrating 39 years with Conway Corporation. Mike was hired in June 1976 as a Utility Worker. He is currently a Senior Foreman in the Water Department, a position he has held for more than 10 years. Mike oversees and coordinates a crew dedicated to cleaning, repairing and installing all aspects of Conway’s water and wastewater system.

Dale Gottsponer is celebrating 26 years with Conway Corporation. Dale was hired in June 1989 as an Engineer. After passing his Electrical Principles and Practice of Engineering exam, Dale was promoted to Electric System Engineer in 1996. In 2008, Dale was promoted to his current position, Electric System Senior Engineer, where he plans, designs, studies and coordinates engineering work related to transmission and substations.

Tommy Shackelford is celebrating 37 years with Conway Corporation. Tommy was hired in June 1978 in the engineering department and is now the company’s Chief Operating Officer where he oversees the day –to-day operations of the Electric, Water and Cable departments.

Keith Cates is celebrating 26 years with Conway Corporation. Keith was hired in June 1989 as a Utility Worker. He was transferred to the Water Department in the early 90s and earned his Grade A Water license in 1994 and his inspector and backflow licenses in 1996.  He was promoted to his current position as a Water Systems Designer II in the Engineering Department in 1999 where he plans, designs and directs water and wastewater engineering projects. 

Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is August 20, 2018

Save water & money this summer

As temperatures rise during summer months, our consumption of water also increases. We participate in outdoor activities like swimming and gardening and use nearly four times as much water as the rest of the year to keep our lawns green or fill our backyard pools.

Some homes can even use up to 3,000 gallons of water on a peak day which is the equivalent of leaving a garden hose running for nearly eight hours. The good news is with a few simple techniques, you can save water and money all summer long while still enjoying your favorite outdoor activities.

Landscaping

Now is a great time to determine which area of your yard needs the most water and to prioritize the watering needs of outdoor plants and trees. Newly planted trees, shrubs and lawns should receive the first priority when it comes to determining the need for water. While most plants and bushes are not planted until spring, those planted the previous year may not have had time to develop extensive root systems. It’s best to water early in the morning when temperatures and wind speed are the lowest to reduce loss from evaporation. Mulching also reduces loss and keeps the soil and roots cool. Remember a slow trickle from the hose is the most effective method for absorption.

Flower and Vegetable Gardens

Most flower and vegetable gardens require watering to stay productive. Mulching can help retain additional moisture in the soil and around the roots. Most well established trees and shrubs can withstand a prolonged period without rain or watering. Far more plants die from over-watering than under-watering. For many garden plants, the best way is to let your finger be the guide. Dig down several inches near the base of the plant. If the soil is dry, that’s an indication you need to water.

Lawns

Don’t over-water your lawn. As a general rule, lawns only need one inch of water every five to seven days. Try placing a small empty tuna can near your sprinkler system to help you determine when to turn off the sprinkler. When the can is full, you have watered approximately one inch. Water lawns during the early morning hours when temperatures and wind speeds are lowest to reduce loss from evaporation. Try setting your lawn mower blades one notch higher because longer grass means less water evaporation.

Rain Barrels

Place rain barrels or buckets beneath your gutters or downspouts. For every 1,000 square feet of roof surface, you will collect 420 gallons of water during every inch of rainfall. You can use the rainwater for outdoor plants and trees or to wash your car. Channel storm water across lawns and into garden beds away from your house. Consider rainscaping by establishing a watershed-friendly garden, which will use storm water to thrive and create beauty around your home.

Swimming Pools

Uncovered backyard pools lose hundreds of gallons of water each month from evaporation. Using a pool cover and keeping it covered when not in use will reduce evaporation of water and chemicals by nearly 70 percent. Check your pool for leaks often, and always consult a professional with pool maintenance to reduce your risk of structural failure like a cracked shell that would waste thousands of gallons of water over the summer.

We all see our water use rise dramatically during the summer, but our monthly statements don’t have to rise too. Start planning now to use water more efficiently, and your entire family will be having fun in the sun all summer long. For more water or electric efficiency information, call the Conway Corporation Energy Smart team at 501-450-6000 or click here.

Look for more Conway Corporation Energy Smart efficiency tips every month in 501 Life magazine.  

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