Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is December 12, 2017

Customer Newsletter: Data Center nears completion

The Conway Corporation Winter 2015 Customer Newsletter is now available and includes information on the company's newly constructed data center.

Construction originally began on the 5,700 square-foot building on Prairie Street in February 2014 is expected to be completed in March. The center will serve as the master facility receiving television signals for processing and distribution over the cable system, and will support the equipment necessary to deliver digital video, Internet and tele­phone services for Conway Corporation residential and business products.The expanded facility includes sixty-four racks of technical equipment and can support 750 kilowatts (kW) of critical load. It has a fully redundant en­vironmental control system along with dual alternate power sources, and the building is FEMA rated and built to withstand winds up to 250 miles per hour. 

“We are extremely proud of this data center and how it will help us continue to deliver reliable and innovative technology services to our customers," Conway Corporation Chief Executive Officer Richard Arnold said about the forward-thinking construction of the new building. 

Click here to read more about the data center or to read other articles from the Winter 2015 Customer Newsletter.

Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is December 12, 2017

How is power restored after an outage?

When the power goes out, we all want to know the same thing – what caused the outage and how long until the power is going to come back on? While Conway Corporation outages are often relatively short and weather related like the one last night, rest assured that regardless the reason, our crews are working around the clock to ensure your power is restored as quickly as possible while you wait.

Last year, Conway Corporation was recognized with the Reliable Public Power Provider designation from the American Public Power Association for consistently providing the highest degree of reliable and safe electric service. We were recognized largely in part because frequency and duration of power outages in the service area is exceptionally low. In fact, we keep the lights on 99.99 percent of the time.

But when your power does goes out, restoring it safely and quickly is our number one priority. When a power outage occurs, Conway Corporation first ensures public safety. Then we work our way down the line making repairs prioritizing the jobs at each step that help the most people.

When our crews are notified of an outage, they immediately assess the situation and follow specific steps to restore power as quickly and safely as possible:

Protect Public Safety Safety always comes first when dealing with electricity. Our top priority is to clear downed power lines that pose a public safety hazard, and crews give immediate attention to dangerous situations such as power lines on roadways or streets. Sometimes, tree branches or limbs must be cleared from the area before repairs can be made. In addition, Conway Corporation also prioritizes public health and safety facilities such as hospitals or police and fire stations ensuring they have power first.

Repair Distribution Substations Substations are the next critical link in the chain, and these repairs are the next highest priority. Substations receive power from transmission lines and act as a distribution and switching system for residential and business consumption in the city. Each substation serves thousands and must be repaired before they can supply power down the line to individual residences.

Repair Main Lines Main lines carry power from substations to neighborhoods or large areas, and are the primary power lines leaving the substation. These are typically the lines affected when you are having a power outage at your home.

Repair Tap Lines Tap lines are smaller lines that branch off from the main lines to deliver power to smaller groups down individual streets. They connect to transformers mounted on poles or are placed on pads underground.

Repair Individual Connections Once repairs to the larger system are complete, crews can begin working on damage to an individual service connection. These are the lines running directly to a home from a transformer. This is the most difficult and time-consuming step because crews must visit individual homes and properties in order repair lines, poles and equipment to a single dwelling. This is why it’s also important to report your outage to Conway Corporation, because crews may not be aware of damage on your individual connection or that your home is still without power once power is restored across the city.

The best way for customers to report an electric outage is to notify us via telephone at 501-450-6000. If phone lines are busy due to high call volume, you can also click here and use the online outage reporting form. When a major outage occurs, visit the website for updates or follow us on Facebook or Twitter for updates.

Our men and women work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to provide reliable services to the residents of Conway, and we’re proud of the work they do each and every day. We’re proud to be recognized as one of the best public power providers in the nation, and we appreciate the opportunity to serve you.  

Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is December 12, 2017

Don't let balloons ruin Valentine's Day

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and while love is definitely in the air this time of year, you don’t want balloons to be. Each year, thousands of Americans celebrate different holidays and occasions with helium-filled metallic balloons, and each year millions of homes and businesses experience power outages by balloons drifting into power lines.

Most helium balloons are made of mylar, a special kind of plastic that has a thin metallic coating great for conducting electricity. When a mylar balloon touches a power line or floats into substation equipment, their metallic properties cause a surge of electricity that results in power outages or electrical fires. Balloons can even cause energized wires to fall to the ground posing a serious safety risk.

In order to reduce these risks and help ensure everyone can safely enjoy their Valentine’s Day, Conway Corporation reminds customers to follow these important safety tips for metallic balloons:

  • Use caution and avoid celebrating with metallic balloons near overhead electric lines.
  • Make sure helium-filled balloons are securely tied to a weight that is heavy enough to prevent them from floating away.
  • When possible, keep metallic balloons indoors and never permit metallic balloons to be released outside.
  • Never attempt to retrieve any type of balloon, kite or toy that becomes caught in a power line. Leave it alone and immediately call Conway Corporation at 450-6000.
  • Never go near a power line that has fallen to the ground or is dangling in the air. Always assume downed electric lines are energized and extremely dangerous. If you see a downed power line, stay far away and immediately call 450-6000.
  • When disposing of balloons, make sure to puncture them to ensure lingering helium doesn’t cause them to float or blow away. 
Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is December 12, 2017

Energy Saving Myths - What's really efficient?

We all think about saving energy every day. We turn off lights when we leave a room, close the refrigerator door after getting a snack and don’t leave the water running while brushing our teeth. Some energy rules are easy to follow, but others can be confusing and can actually be harmful.

Common misconceptions about energy efficiency and conservation can not only increase energy use, but actually end up costing residential consumers and businesses money.  Whether they’re based on misinformation, flawed intuition or simply old technology, common fallacies about saving power can make you think you’re being green when in reality you’re only wasting it.

Take a look at these prevalent energy myths and discover how to turn money-wasting fiction into energy-saving fact. 

MYTH Energy conservation and energy efficiency are the same thing.

FACT Energy conservation is using less energy or choosing not to use energy at all. Turning off the lights when you leave a room and opening the windows for a cool breeze instead of turning on the air conditioner are good conservation habits. Energy efficiency is using less energy to provide the same service. Compact fluorescent light bulbs provide the same light output as standard incandescent bulbs but use just one-quarter of the energy and last 8 to 12 times longer. Low-e windows help block sunlight out keeping your home cool in the summer, preventing your air conditioner from working harder to cool and maintain your comfort indoors.

MYTH Closing vents in unoccupied rooms saves energy.

FACT Although closing vents in unused rooms seems like it’s conserving energy, the energy consumed by the HVAC system is at the unit itself. Restricting conditioned air at a vent register redirects it to other locations in the house or through leaks in the duct system. Closing vents also puts backpressure on the fan that pushes the air through the system, causing it to work harder and use more energy even wearing out more quickly.

MYTH When appliances and devices are turned off, they don’t use power.

FACT In the past this was probably true, but thanks to standby power settings and power converters, most devices consume energy even when they are turned off. Some of these even use almost as much energy when they are turned off as they do when they are turned on. Using a power strip to turn off devices and desk electronics not in use cuts standby power, which can help you save energy and money. Plus, ENERGY STAR® certified models consume far less energy in standby and other inactive modes.

MYTH Ceiling fans cool rooms.

FACT Ceiling fans cool people, not rooms. Unlike air conditioning units, ceiling fans don’t cool the air but move the air around. Fans simply recirculate air and create a slight breeze that cools us down by increasing the rate of evaporation of sweat and removing heat from our skin. To save energy, it’s beneficial to run the fan only when people are in the room to feel the breeze.

MYTH Keeping your thermostat at the same temperature overnight uses less energy than turning it down and reheating your home in the morning.

FACT You don’t want to turn your thermostat off or let your house get really cold, because you will have to invest a lot of energy in a short period of time to get back to a comfortable level. However, it takes less energy to warm up a cold room in the morning than it does to maintain a constant temperature throughout the night and even setting the temperature just a few degrees lower can significantly reduce heating costs. Also, close the blinds and drapes at night in the winter to keep the cold out and give your heating system a break.

MYTH Hot tap water boils using less energy.  

FACT It uses the same amount of energy to boil water regardless of where the energy is from. If the water heater preheats it, you pay for that energy as well as any losses in the pipes and heater itself. Try boiling water in a covered pot – it boils faster and uses less energy – and use the least amount of water you can get away with because it takes less time to boil. Once the water is boiling, remember to turn the heat down and use the lowest possible setting to keep the water boiling, steaming, simmering or whatever the recipe calls for.

MYTH It’s more energy efficient to leave your computer running when not in use.

FACT Any time you can turn off your computer, it will save energy. In the past, desktop computers needed to be left on because turning them on and off caused additional wear on the hard disk and other components. However, today’s computers can tolerate several on-off cycles each day. In fact, one leading manufacturer of computers tells their employees to turn off desktop computers at the close of business, over lunch breaks and during long meetings saving the company more than $1 million in energy costs each year. For shorter time periods, configure the system so the monitor will go into power saving or sleep mode instead of flashing a fancy screen saver.

To debunk more energy myths or to learn more energy efficiency tips, consider a home energy audit. Conway Corporation’s Energy Smart program offers free residential energy audits to help customers identify how much energy a home consumes and what measures may be taken to make that home more energy efficient. To schedule your free audit call 450-6000. Click here to learn more about Conway Corporation’s Energy Smart program.

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

Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is December 12, 2017

Super Bowl goes green with LED stadium lights

When the Seattle Seahawks face off against the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl this Sunday, the mammoth sporting event will be greener and significantly brighter than ever before. That’s because the University of Phoenix is the first Super Bowl host in the event’s history to light its stadium entirely with LEDs. In the process, they will be cutting energy use by 75 percent and saving on cooling costs too.

The energy savings that come with using LEDs over conventional metal halide lights are significant. The system, which features Cree LEDs installed by Ephesus Lighting, uses 310,000 watts of energy as opposed to the 1.24 million watts needed to power the previous system. In total this creates a 75 percent reduction in energy usage.

And the benefits are solely savings or environmental – LED lights are better for viewers at home watching the game too. LEDs cast a brighter, more uniform light that eliminate shadows on the field and allow the game’s videographers to capture action more sharply with a greater depth of field. They’re better suited for HDTV broadcasts because the lights reproduce colors more accurately and allow for more detailed slow motion replays.

And if that wasn’t enough to sell a stadium on the benefits of investing in LEDs, there’s another advantage: the lights can be turned back on with the flick of a switch. Why does this matter? Conventional metal halides need a 20 minute warm-up period, which, if you have a blackout – and we all remember the infamous blackout of Super Bowl 2013 – that means you have a long delay on your hands. With LEDs, the lights come back on as soon as the power does. Resetting the lights is immediate.

Conway Corporation cable subscribers can take in the entire LED Super Bowl experience on Sunday, February 1 at 5 p.m. on channel 4 or in HD on channel 503.

Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is December 12, 2017

Lightbulb visits Kidz University

The Conway Corporation Lightbulb made a special visit to the Kidz University preschool and pre-kindergarten classes Wednesday, January 20 to talk about electrical safety and energy conservation. The students, ages 3 to 5, learned safety and conservation tips including a song to help them remember to turn off the lights when leaving a room. 

Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is December 12, 2017

Conway Corporation announces contest winners

This October, Conway Corporation celebrated Energy Awareness Month and Public Power Week by encouraging local students to show their energy smarts and participate in an essay contest. Students in 5-12 grade were asked to write about “Every Watt Counts” and first, second and third place prizes were awarded in two age categories, 5-7 grade and 8-12 grade.

“Every Watt Counts!” by Conway High School junior Matthew Sweere won first place. “Saving America One Watt at a Time” by CHS sophomore Jillian Tang received second place, and “Every Watt Counts for Green” by Conway Junior High School eighth grader Isabel Powers received third place.

In the 5-7 grade category, Samuel Chesshir won first place for his essay “Every Watt Does Count.” Madeline Whitfield won second place for her “Be the One” essay, and Jennasis Whisenant won third place for her “Every Watt Counts” essay. Chesshir and Whisenant are sixth graders at Bob Courtway Middle School. Whitfield is a sixth grader at Carl Stuart Middle School.

Below are excerpts from Sweere’s and Chesshir’s winning essays.

Sweere: “American businessman Kenneth Lay once said, ‘Humans can’t do without electricity, but they can do with less.’ This statement sums up the wise philosophy behind Conway Corporation’s encouragement of their customers conserving energy. Electricity is an integral part of modern life. Humans rely on this key energy source for lighting, cooking, cooling, heating, entertainment, work, social groups and almost every aspect of life. Since the American life revolves around electricity, we need to be wise consumers about its use. Conserving energy and ensuring that every watt counts can have positive effect ecologically, financially and personally.

By saving every watt, we as consumers are protecting our environment since the world will not be able to depend on nonrenewable resources forever. While electricity allows humans to live comfortable lives by powering our modern day conveniences, it also depletes our natural gas, coal and oil reserves. Energy resources can be extended by conservation. We must take efforts to use only what is need in everything we do. Americans can make each watt count by curtailing energy use, cutting back or overhauling the way we use electricity.

Americans can become more financially efficient by using energy saving appliances, energy efficient light bulbs and by insulating your house. Most of the money that is spent on energy is wasted through the use of inefficient appliances, electronics that are left on standby and the production and use of resources and materials that are not necessary. We can take steps to save watts as well as increase our financial fitness.

The act of conservation increases a person’s awareness of the effect of their energy use on the environment. The negative aspect of our use of electricity have to be weighed against the benefits and a balance must be kept not just for our lives but for future generations. The overuse of electricity has impacts and thus must be kept under control. Energy is one of the most fundamental parts of our lives and thus must be used wisely if we are going to protect the world we live in as well as the world that will become.”

Chesshir: “Just imagine if every person on this earth saved one watt. Every boy and girl here on this planet. That would be more than 7 billion watts! There are tons of things we could do with that many watts. And when we use less energy now, we have more energy to use in the future.

One big thing you can do is turn off all lights and unplug all appliances when you are not using them. Also, replacing outdated appliances with energy-efficient models helps to conserve energy. Lower your thermostat during the summer instead of turning down the temperature. Wash your clothes with warm or cool water instead of using hot water, and take short, warm showers instead of long hot ones to help conserve energy used by your hot water heater.

Another great way to conserve energy is to replace your old light bulbs with energy efficient lights to use less energy. Open your blinds, shades and curtains that cover your windows to let in sunlight so you don’t have to turn on a light. Using microwaves and toaster oven to cook or warm leftovers is a great alternative to using a traditional oven. Only use your washing machine when you have a full load to wash.

You just need to think. Do I really need to turn on all of these lights? Is it really necessary to use that appliance? Most of the time, when people make good choices about if they really need to do or use something, it ends up benefiting them as well as others in the world.

As you can see, every watt does count. Every time you save energy, you have more energy to use yourself. It also provides more energy for others. All of this just goes to show that even just turn off a light switch helps.”

Congratulations to all the winners of the 2014 Energy Smart Essay Contest, and thank you to all students who submitted an entry. Conway Corporation is proud of these students who continue to encourage us all to conserve energy in our everyday lives. 

Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is December 12, 2017

Back to school energy savings

Between soccer practice and dance classes, late night dinners and last-minute projects, it’s hard for a busy family to save energy during the back-to-school season. But whether your kids are off to kindergarten or off to college, reducing your family’s energy consumption can help lower your electricity bill while still fitting into your busy lifestyle.

Increase your thermostat a few degrees

With the kids back at school, fewer people are at home during the day so consider adjusting the thermostat accordingly. When no one is going to be at home for a few hours, try turning up the thermostat four degrees when using the air conditioner. Better yet, use a programmable thermostat which is even easier and can help you save 10 percent or more on cooling costs.

Just program it to be a bit warmer during the hours when no one is home and set it to start cooling about a half hour before everyone comes back home. Most likely, you will not notice the difference and generally you will save four to eight percent on your cooling bill for every degree you allow the temperature to increase. Once the temperatures start dropping and you switch to heating your house, reverse the process and set your house to be cooler during the day and at night.

Replace out old incandescent light bulbs

Old incandescent light bulbs waste heat – lots and lots of it. Energy Star fixtures and CFL light bulbs use 75 percent less electricity than unrated models and last six times longer. They don’t produce less light, just heat. Plus, they save about $10 a year each in electricity costs.

Stick to Energy Star products

Energy Star rated products like computers, scanners and printers use up to 65 percent less energy than unrated new products. For computer monitors, the savings can reach 90 percent. Assuming a monitor is used eight hours per day for eight months, that’s easily $15 saved. Consider purchasing an Energy Star desk lamp and save up $50 over its lifetime. Generally, Energy Start products are not necessarily more expensive than other products either.

Use advanced power strips

Electronic devices continue to use power even when they are turned off. So the video game consoles your kids were using in the summer are continuing to account for five to 10 percent of your household’s total electricity usage even while they are in school. Using an advanced power strip minimizes this energy waste by cutting power to your electronics when they are not in use – saving energy and money in the process.

Get an audit

While the kids are back in school to learn math and history, why don’t you get a lesson whether your home is energy efficient or not? Conway Corporation offers free home energy audits to help customers identify how much energy their homes consume and what measures may be taken to make their homes more energy efficient. Annually, homes that have received a free audit from Conway Corporation’s Energy Smart program save $148,000 combined in utility costs. Over the lifetime of the program, these homes have saved more than $2.6 million.

Back-to-school is a busy time for families, but reducing energy use and lowering energy bills doesn’t have to add to the time demands of an already hectic time of year. These simple steps can help make your home and your family more energy efficient. For more energy efficient tips or to learn more about the residential energy audit program, contact Conway Corporation at 501.450.6000 or click here. 

Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is December 12, 2017

Swim and save all summer long

Swimming pools and spas are known for water, but the truth is they are not very energy efficient. A Typical backyard swimming pool uses as much energy during the summer months as the rest of your house does over that same period. The good news is that with a few simple changes, you can save energy and money all summer long while still enjoying your favorite summertime activity.

Here are five ways you can significantly reduce the costs of heating and maintaining your pool:

  • Upgrade your old single-speed pump to a multi-speed pump. Your old, power-hungry single-speed pool pump is probably running up your electric bill. By upgrading to a two-speed or variable-speed pump, you can save between 25 and 60 percent on your energy costs. Also, try to not run your pool pump more than six hours a day – the extra running time is usually just a waste of energy.
  • Set your pool heater to a constant 78 degrees, and you will use about 40 percent less energy than if you were to set it at 82 degrees. You will still be comfortable, and even better you will save money every month.
  • Cover your pool when it’s not in use. A good pool cover keeps water temperatures about 10 degrees higher and reduces evaporation of water and chemicals by about 70 percent. Your pool will stay warmer and cleaner while you minimize energy use and equipment wear.
  • Consider planting trees, bushes and shrubs around your pool that don’t impede vision and don’t “shed.” These green assets will reduce wind and surface area heat loss and, because they don’t drop leaves or flowers in your pool, you will save money on cleaning too.
  • Consult a professional. While it’s tempting to save money in the short term, you’re not always best served by maintaining your pool yourself. Without proper knowledge and experience with pool equipment and chemicals, you may have to replace equipment more often and you risk structural failures such as cracked pool shells which can be very expensive to replace. If you’re not sure how to handle a pool issue, talk to a pro.

Keeping a spa heated at all time can also use a significant amount of energy. If your spa is always on, consider the following tips:

  • Lower the temperature by about 3 degrees. This can save 5 to 10 percent in heating costs.
  • Run the air jets only when using the spa. The cooling effect of the air bubbles counteracts the energy used to heat the water.
  • Keep the spa covered until you’re ready to use it. An uncovered spa is costing you energy and money every minute.
  • Add a floating thermal blanket to the rigid cover used with most spas. The added layer conserves heat and reduces evaporation.

Following these few suggestions for pools and spas can keep you having fun in the sun all summer long while saving money and energy. For more energy efficiency tips, click here. 

How do I report a power outage?