Rochester Public Utilities | Blog

Archive for July, 2009

Running Start for School

Monday, July 6th, 2009
  • Imagine if it was your first day of school and you were the only kid in the classroom who didn’t have a backpack or the supplies needed to get you through the year. You’d probably feel embarrassed and a little bit overwhelmed, especially when all the other kids have everything they need to start fresh for the days ahead.

    Whether you know it or not, there are many families in Olmsted County who struggle to send their children to school with all the required supplies they’ll need for the school year. It’s becoming especially harder for some families during these rough economic times.

    The community recognizes such circumstances and United Way is again sponsoring the Running Start for School campaign, a program that provides school supplies to children in Olmsted County who qualify for free or reduced lunches. Rochester Public Utilities is proud to participate in this program for the second year in a row. Last year RPU donated three tubs and numerous backpacks full of school supplies. RPU hopes to double the number of donations this year with the increasing number of eligible students.

    Your support and donations can and will, make a difference in the life of a child. Not only do small children need supplies, but older students need them as well. Now is your chance to help a child keep his/her head held high and start the school year with a great big smile.

    This year RPU has also volunteered to be a drop off location for community donations. If you’d like to donate supplies or backpacks, RPU will have a donation tub located in the lobby at the main office building located at 4000 East River RD NE. Cash donations are also accepted for purchasing supplies.


    The Running Start for School program will continue now until August 13th.

    Below is a link to the official Running Start for School site in which you can download a list of school supplies, learn more about the program, and find out more about other drop off locations.

    United Way of Olmsted County Running Start for School – 2009

Saving Energy While on Vacation…

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Before you race out the door for your summer vacation, prepare your home with these energy and money saving steps.  You can minimize energy consumption in your empty house and maybe save a few dollars for your next vacation.

Get unplugged – Your appliances and electronics deserve a vacation too- and simply turning them off doesn’t stop them from guzzling vampire energy.  Unplug your TV, computer, battery chargers, and anything else that doesnt need to be left on. 

Turn the dial – Turn off your air conditioner or set the thermostat to 85 degrees or higher.  For every degree you raise your thermostat above 72 degrees, you’ll save 1 to 3 percent in cooling costs.  To avoid coming home to an overheated house, use a programmable thermostat and set it on vacation mode to re-cool your house shortly before your expected return. 

Set a timer – Leaving lights on while you’re away protects your home from burglars, yet it robs you of energy.  Discourage potential prowlers by programming timers so two or three lights come on in different rooms at night and shut off during the day.  Outside, protect your home with motion-sensor landscape lights. 

Refrigerator- Your refrigerator is one of the biggest energy users in a typical home.  If you are leaving for a short period of time, change the refrigerator thermostat to a higher setting, 38 degrees for the refrigerator, 5 degrees for the freezer.  Taking an extended trip?  Consider emptying your fridge  and unplugging it- you’ll save about $15 if your gone for for one month.  (Prop open the door to avoid coming home to a horrible stench.)

Water Heater-Unless you have a tankless water heater unit, your water heater will keep on running to keep the water warm until you get back.  Turn down the setting to as low as possible to reduce this standby heat loss while you are away.

For more tips on conserving energy in your home, sign up for our Conserve and Save at Home E-newsletter on the link below: