Hot weather is coming: cool down with these tips

Hot weather is coming: cool down with these tips

Summer is quickly approaching and high temperatures are climbing, so we’re here with tips to help keep you cool.

You can save energy and money, even in the extreme heat, with our energy efficiency tips:

  • Make sure your drapes and shades are pulled down during the day to block the hot sun.
  • Wear light clothing and set your thermostat between 72 and 78 degrees. You’ll save energy for every degree higher you can set your thermostat.
  • Try not to use large appliances like dishwashers, stoves, washers and dryers during the warmest hours of the day.
  • If you haven’t already, make the switch to cooler and more efficient LED lights; incandescent lights produce heat.
  • Ceiling fans cost far less to use than air conditioners, but only turn them on in rooms that are occupied.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that over 1,200 people in the United States die from extreme heat every year. Older adults, children and sick individuals are at greater risk from extreme heat.

Here are some tips to stay safe during the hottest days:

  • Find a cool place with air conditioning. If you don’t have air conditioning, the CDC urges you to find cooler places — shopping malls, libraries or public cooling centers — to avoid the heat.
  • Check on your at-risk family members or neighbors.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Never leave people or pets in a closed car.
  • Avoid strenuous activity.
  • If you are outside, find shade and wear a hat big enough to protect your face.

We urge you to stay safe in extreme heat situations. Find a cool place, drink fluids and stay informed of the forecast and any weather-related warnings.

Thanks to you, Pennsylvania now has 5,000 new trees!

Thanks to you, Pennsylvania now has 5,000 new trees!

A thank you from PPL Electric Utilities to customers that signed up for paperless billing during the month of April.Thanks to our environmentally conscious customers, Pennsylvania is now 5,000 trees richer!

Back in April, we ran a campaign to encourage customers to sign up for paperless billing in celebration of Earth Month. The premise was simple, for every customer that enrolled in paperless billing during the month, we’d commit to plant a tree within one of the many communities we serve thanks to our Community Roots Program. And we’re happy to report that we’ll be planting 5,000 new trees across our service territory.

Mature trees can absorb more than 48 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year, according to the Arbor Day Foundation. Which means these trees — thanks to our customers — will grow up and absorb more than 240,000 pounds of carbon dioxide each year, the equivalent of removing approximately 26 gasoline-powered vehicles from roads annually. With just one small change, you’ve helped the environment in a big way. Thank you to everyone who went paperless in April!

Our Community Roots Program, which began in 2017, provides native trees and pollinator-friendly plants and seeds that enhance the environment and help beautify the region. Since the program began, we’ve distributed more than 132,000 trees, shrubs and native pollinator-friendly plants across eastern and central Pennsylvania.

Learn more about our Community Roots Program, and all our environmental efforts, at pplelectric.com/environmental. And, if you haven’t enrolled in paperless billing yet, sign up today at pplelectric.com/paperless.

 

Making learning accessible at the new Da Vinci Science Center at PPL Pavilion

Making learning accessible at the new Da Vinci Science Center at PPL Pavilion

With the snip of a ribbon, the Da Vinci Science Center at PPL Pavilion is ready to open the doors to its 67,000-square-foot facility. 

The Da Vinci Center had been housed at Cedar Crest College for the last 18-plus years, offering engaging learning opportunities through a series of exhibits. The new location in downtown Allentown offers twice the space, and twice the fun. 

“I have been waiting for the moment when I can see kids, families and teachers interacting with the experience,” said Lin Erickson, Executive Director and CEO of the Da Vinci Science Center. “We’ve been working really hard to raise money and design exhibits, and it’s all about the impact and how the community engages with the experiences.” 

A walk through the two-story center is a scientific adventure. There are numerous exhibits designed to teach visitors about topics that are relevant to our everyday lives – health, biology and the environment, to name a few – including one of our own. 

A group of three kids learning with PPL Electric's new solar panel exhibit.

Situated along the back wall on the first floor, our exhibit features an interactive lesson in how solar energy can power a home. Using light from the ceiling, visitors control a series of mirrors to reflect light on to a number of solar panels. Each panel powers a different room or appliance within the home, simulating how sunlight can charge our lives. Walking along the back wall, children and adults alike can read about the power of electricity, and some of the careers at PPL Electric Utilities that help keep the lights on every day. 

It’s been really fun working with local companies like PPL and tapping into their expertise to develop these exhibits,” Erickson said. 

PPL has been a longtime partner with the science center, and we are thrilled to continue this relationship in a new space. We believe supporting a strong foundation in STEM education is critical to the success of today’s students and it helps create the highly skilled workforce of the future. We also believe this learning should be accessible to all. 

We want to encourage access to STEM programs for all students,” said Lissette Santana, senior manager of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability. “One of our requests was to make sure that this world-class science center was accessible to the community; we want people who live and work in the area to come and enjoy this space, regardless of income.” 

After 18-plus years at its old location, the Da Vinci Science Center is excited for fun and education at PPL Pavilion for generations to come. 

“Thanks to PPL’s and many others’ support, we’ve built a science center for our children and grandchildren,” Erickson said. “And it will be right here in the Lehigh Valley; that is so cool.”  

New electric school buses giving a charge to students’ commutes

New electric school buses giving a charge to students’ commutes

We believe in and are charging toward a cleaner energy future. This goal means meeting new demands for connecting renewable energy, electric vehicles and other distributed energy resources to the grid.  

It also means supporting our communities that are making the same pledge. 

This spring, we were excited to take part in separate events welcoming electric school buses to the Bethlehem Area and Steelton-Highspire school districts. These buses were the first electric buses to be rolled out in their districts, and they are among the first in all of Pennsylvania.  

In total, eight buses, two in Bethlehem and six in Steelton-Highspire, are ready for duty. To ensure the project’s success, we met with the districts to review charger locations and power requirements, determined infrastructure upgrades (if any), and ensured available capacity for when the buses arrived. The charging stations have been installed at each of the districts’ bus depots, allowing for convenient charging. 

Views of the electric bus chargers from the front and back.

A closer look at the new chargers installed in the Steelton-Highspire School District.

We have not been waiting for this growth; we have been preparing for moments like these. Thanks to our investments in building a strong, flexible and modern grid, we were able to help in these projects without making any reinforcements to the grid 

We expect electric buses and other electric vehicles (EVs) to become even more popular over the next several years, and we’re staying engaged with our customers to help them understand how we can provide the support they need. We’ve created a webpage, pplelectric.com/EV, to help them make informed decisions about electric vehicles. 

We believe electric vehicles are a viable, cost-effective and environmentally conscious means of transportation. We applaud the Bethlehem Area and Steelton-Highspire school districts for showing leadership in electrification, and we’re proud to help support electrification in any way we can. 

Nurturing Nature: Preserving Ecosystems through the Lancaster Conservancy

Nurturing Nature: Preserving Ecosystems through the Lancaster Conservancy

Being part of the communities we serve goes well beyond delivering safe, reliable electricity. Through PPL Foundation grants, we support local programs focused on environmental stewardship and education, economic development and/or workforce development.

The Lancaster Conservancy in southcentral Pennsylvania recently received a grant from the PPL Foundation. The Conservancy is using this funding to remove invasive plant species from two nature preserves of the 10,000 acres it has protected in its over-50-year history.

The Conservancy protects and tends to 50 preserves in Lancaster and York Counties. With 25 full-time employees, the Conservancy turns to hundreds of community volunteers every year who log thousands of hours of service.

“We couldn’t do this work without them,” said Vice President for Engagement and Education Keith Williams. “We have very few ecosystems that are not impacted by invasive plants. Because they’re not native to our land, they don’t have the typical population controls that keep their numbers in check.”

This, Williams says, leads to a lack of diversity in the ecosystem, which in turn impacts the plants and wildlife that depend on natural resources.

The grant from the PPL Foundation is helping the Conservancy pay for materials to remove invasive species within the Shenks Ferry and Kellys Run preserves. So far this year, our funding has aided in the removal of 3,600 gallons of garlic mustard, a prominent pest across the northeastern United States.

“We started this project three years ago,” Williams said of the garlic removal. “We compare this area to some that we haven’t gotten to yet, and the diversity of the native wildflowers is so much greater on these treated lands.”

Invasive species within the Conservancy include more than just garlic mustard. The team is planning to also remove larger intruders like multiflora rose, bush honeysuckle and autumn olive. With the help of passionate volunteer conservationists like Brad Gorter, the team hopes to preserve the land’s natural beauty and all that comes with it.

“The Conservancy was looking for volunteers and we realized that we could give back to the organization that provided such wonderful outdoor spaces for us to enjoy,” Gorter said.

“Performing this work isn’t just important, it’s vital to the long-term health and sustainability of the places we work and live.”

The Conservancy has expanded and flourished for 54 years, and it believes that these efforts can help it – and our natural lands and wildlife – thrive well into the future.

“Humans depend on the diversity we’re protecting,” Williams said. “Each organism within these 10,000 acres provides an ecosystem function, and we benefit from the services that are provided. These native species deserve to be here as much as we do, and the work that we’re doing ensures that these species will continue to thrive into future generations.”