Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Johnson City Power Board Welcomes Its Three Newest Board Members!

Johnson City Power Board (JCPB) is governed by an eight member Board of Directors. Board members are appointed to serve four year terms by the elected boards and commissions of communities within JCPB's service territory: City of Johnson City (5); Town of Jonesborough (1); Washington County (2).

Current members of the Board of Directors include:

Mrs. Jenny Brock, Chair, Representing the City of Johnson City; Mr. Ralph Martin, Representing Washington County; Mr. Guy Wilson, Representing the City of Johnson City; Mayor Kelly Wolfe, Representing the Town of Jonesborough.
Joining these talented board members are three new recruits as of 2013.

Mr. Scott Bowman joined the JCPB Board of Directors in January 2013. Scott is the owner of Zak’s Furniture located in Johnson City. He has been with Zak’s for nearly 5 years and was previously employed with Nortel Networks for 18 years. Scott obtained his undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN and received his MBA from Emory University in Atlanta, GA. Scott is a resident of Johnson City and has a daughter who attends the University of Tennessee. He is also a member of the Johnson City Rotary Club. Scott expressed his appreciation to be part of the JCPB Board of Directors in a JCPB internal publication and is looking forward to working with the employees of JCPB for the next four years.

Mr. Robert Thomas joined JCPB’s Board of Directors in March 2013. He is an ETSU graduate with a major in Marketing. Mr. Thomas previously spent 13 years in the wholesale industry in Louisiana. Currently, he operates as Vice President of Thomas Construction where he has invested 12 years alongside his father and brother in business. Mr. Thomas currently serves on the Johnson City Regional Planning Commission and during his free time he stays busy keeping up with his three children, twin daughters and a son. Mr. Thomas is looking forward to the opportunity to serve on the JCPB Board of Directors and is also enthusiastic about being part of keeping a great organization moving forward.

Mr. Gerald Sparks joined JCPB’s Board of Directors as of June 2013. Gerald owned and operated Sparks Construction since 1972, but is currently retired. He was also previously employed with Cross-Lacey Oil Company for 10 years. Mr. Sparks is a current Washington Country Commissioner and during his free time he enjoys showing tractors. Mr. Sparks lives in Jonesborough with his wife and has two daughters and a son. Gerald states that he is looking forward to the experience of serving on the JCPB Board of Directors.

These three new faces will bring diversity and a fresh perspective to the Board of Directors during the course of the next four years. We, at Johnson City Power Board, are excited to welcome these distinguished men into our organization and wish the best for them as they continue on their path toward success.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Improving hot water heating efficiency ... with cold water

 A prototype water heater system that uses cold water to make hot water pictured with Slate...

Apart from heating and cooling the house, water heating is one of the biggest energy drains in the average home. But what if you could literally use cold water to create hot water? That’s just what San Diego inventor Hal Slater claims to have done with the creation of a water heater system that promises to improve water heating efficiency by as much as 50 to 100 percent.

The system works on the basis that cold water supplied to households in temperate climates averages around 70° F (21° C), which the researchers say is 15° to 20° F (8° to 11° C) warmer than it needs to be. By using a small water-to-water heat pump, the system extracts this excess heat from water in a 20-gallon (76 liter) cold water tank and delivers it to a typical 50-gallon (189-liter) water heater.

With funding from a grant from the California Energy Commission, Slater teamed up with a research team from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), led by Dr. Jan Kleissl of the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, to test the system. To test real-world performance and determine the effects of different incoming cold water temperatures, they installed three prototype systems in homes in coastal, mountain and desert climates. They also monitored each system for a year to compare performance over different seasons.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Learn More About Your Home's Energy Use!

Do you want to learn more about specific things you can do in your home to help lower your energy costs? Are you intimidated by the complexity of your home's systems, how they work, and how they relate to your energy usage habits? Johnson City Power Board has a convenient and powerful tool that may help you get a better handle on your unique situation. Take this quick and easy online survey and let our online home energy calculator do the rest.

CLICK HERE For JCPB's Home Energy Calculator

Monday, May 13, 2013

SmartHub FAQ: Making the transition from E-Bill to the future of JCPB's online customer service

SmartHub is now live and has replaced Johnson City Power Board's (JCPB) previous E-Bill online customer service web portal! So, what does that mean for those of you transitioning from E-Bill to SmartHub? The following is a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) to address your concerns. As always, if there are questions left unanswered by this post, or if there is anything else you would like to address with our staff, feel free to post a comment or contact us directly in person or on the phone at (423) 282-JCPB (5272).


SmartHub FAQ:

How do I sign up for SmartHub?

Simply CLICK HERE or visit and click on "SmartHub Pay Online" in the green banner at the top of the page. If you already have an E-Bill online account, log in as an existing user and begin to explore all of the wonderful new features in SmartHub. If you do not have an online account yet, sign up as a new user by following the link next to "New User?". 
Just as with our E-Bill website, SmartHub requires the last four digits of the primary account holder's Social Security Number (SSN) to be entered correctly along with the corresponding account number to ensure privacy of JCPB customer information. Anyone attempting to sign up for an online account who does not have a SSN on file with JCPB will need to contact our SmartHub customer service advocate directly at or by phone at (423) 952-5191. 

What is the difference between the Mobile App and the Web Version of SmartHub?

Our Mobile Apps are native Applications that can be downloaded and installed on your compatible mobile phone or tablet device. The Web version is internet accessible from any web enabled device. Both the Apps and the Web version give you secure access to maintain your account information, view your bills, see payment history, make payments on one or more accounts, set up recurring payments and report outages.  They also allow you to monitor and manage your usage by use of graphics and usage markers. The Apps allow you to find and get directions to office locations, payment drop boxes and payment kiosks using the map feature on your device.

The Web version allows you to register your accounts to receive notifications for account milestones, such as an approaching or a missed due date.  It also allows you to set usage markers (date range or point in time) to monitor the changes in usage based on events. The Web has a Profile page available for you to maintain your personal information, password, security pass phrase and stored payment methods.

Is my phone or tablet supported?

Our Apps are supported on the following platforms:
  • IOS 3.1 and above (iPhone and/or iPad)     
  • Android 2.1 and above (Smartphones or tablets) 
**Please note that mobile app users must either be existing E-Bill online customers or establish an account via the SmartHub web app before accessing their account via either of the SmartHub  mobile apps.***  
Is the App secure?

Yes! All critical information is encrypted in every transaction run and no personal information is stored on your mobile device. Mobile devices do offer you the ability to store your login information for Apps installed on the device. If you choose to store your login information, any person who has access to your mobile device can access your account.

How do I get the App for my phone?

Simply look for our name in the Apple Store® or in the Android® Market.

Search: SmartHub (not case sensitive but must be all one word), if duplicates appear the correct App is provided by our partner, National Information Solutions Cooperative.\
Please note customers who wish to usethe SmartHub mobile app for their Android or iOS mobile device are required to sign up for an account through the SmartHub web application first unless they are existing E-Bill customers.

Do I have to buy the App?

No. Our App is free to download and install.  

Do I have to change the way I pay my bill in order to use SmartHub?

No.  You can take advantage of all of the features of SmartHub and continue to pay your bill as you currently do.

I have five accounts. Can I see them all in the App and on the Web?

Yes. The Web home page shows all of your accounts with the amounts due and hyperlinks to other detailed information. On the App, tap the Bill and Pay icon.  The total due of all accounts shows and below it you can select different information by account, such as partial payment option, billing history and payment history.

Can I make a payment on multiple accounts?

Web: To pay the total amount owed on all accounts, click the Pay Now button in the upper right corner of the screen or the Make Payment button on the home page. You can also make a payment to a single account or partial payments to all accounts by clicking on the Billing & Payments button.  It will allow you to check the accounts to be paid and change the amount for each account by clicking on Other Amount.  After entering the amounts to be paid click the Pay Now button. 

Mobile App: Tap the Bill & Pay gadget.  If paying the total amount due, tap the Pay button.  If paying a partial payment, tap the Pay Partial Amount, tap on the account and adjust the Pay Amount.

How current is the account information I see in the App or on the Web?

The information you see in the App and in the Web is shown in real-time, so it's always accurate. However, if you keep your App or the Web version open for an extended period of time, you should refresh the page by selecting a new option in order to ensure the information is still current.

How do I sign up for notifications? What if I want to receive notifications for multiple accounts?

You must log into the Web and click on Notifications.  Select preferred notification method (Text, Mobile Push, Email or Phone) and fill out the appropriate notification information based on your selection.  Click Next to continue, verify the notification parameters and confirm.  If you have multiple accounts, while you are setting the notification it will prompt you to indicate which account the notification is for. 

How do I find your offices and payment locations?

On the App, tap the Map and you will see all the office and payment locations available to you.  To get directions, tap the location and an address box comes up.  Tap the address box and the Map/GPS Navigator options appear.  Tap on the preferred method and follow the instructions.

What is the recommended screen resolution for SmartHub on the web?

1280 x 1024

What do the color codes represent on the mobile application My Usage screen?

The colors represent a visual indication of your usage.  Red indicates the highest usage for the range of days displayed, brown is the second highest, etc.  Green indicates average usage.

In SmartHub web, my tab buttons are not highlighted to indicate what screen I am on and the Utility logo is centered on the page.  Why is it displaying this way?

Even though you may be running Internet Explorer 8 or later, some of your websites could be displayed in version 7 compatibility mode.  To check this, open Internet Explorer, select Page, and click Compatibility View Settings. Any websites that are listed will display in version 7 compatibility mode.  Remove the SmartHub web site from this list.

Will my existing eBill login work with SmartHub?

Yes.  Your existing login credentials will carry forward to SmartHub.
Will my existing stored credit card and/or checking account information be available in SmartHub?

Yes.  All financial information stored in eBill will be available in SmartHub.

Why can’t SmartHub confirm my social security number?

If for some reason we do not have your SSN or tax ID number on file, you will need to call our customer service department (423-952-5272) to submit your information before SmartHub can access your online account.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

What To Expect From JCPB's Social Media Websites

The Johnson City Power Board is committed to offering its customers the best customer service possible. In today's highly technological society, excellent customer service is often equated to instant, on-demand information. Recognizing this trend, JCPB began utilizing social media websites in November of 2009. As luck would have it, just a couple of hours after the launch of our Twitter and Facebook pages, a violent wind storm blew through Washington County causing a wide-spread power outage. Taking advantage of this new means to keep our customers apprised of the situation, we jumped in head first posting bits of information and responding to new friends and followers as they reached out in the dark searching for information.

Since that first day, JCPB's social media websites' audiences have grown significantly. We appreciate having an open avenue to communicate messages of importance to our utility and community while we respect our followers' wish to not be berated by an endless onslaught of pointless postings. In an attempt to help our friends and followers have appropriate expectations of our staff's engagement, we have refined our social media policy to define when JCPB staff will monitor and respond to messages and requests on JCPB's Twitter and Facebook pages.

  • JCPB staff will monitor and respond to questions and comments via Twitter and FaceBook during JCPB call center's normal hours of operation: 8:00 AM-5:00 PM Monday-Friday.
  • JCPB staff will increase its frequency of posting and responding on Twitter and FaceBook during outage events as time and resources allow.
  • Power outages should always be reported via phone at (423) 282-JCPB (5272).
JCPB hopes to maximize the potential of its social media websites for the convenience and peace of mind of our customers. However, these additional resources are in no way meant to replace our traditional means of reporting outages via telephone. Please be patient during such times as they often present significant strain on our staff and resources. Thank you for your comments and participation.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A tale of two tests: why Energy Star LED light bulbs are a rare breed

How do you measure the life of a light source that could last decades? (Photo: Shutterstoc... 
How do you measure the life of a light source that could last decades? (Photo: Shutterstock)

It turns out the reason is simple, but has a little bit of back-story attached. Unlike Energy Star certification for other types of appliances, an Energy Star-certified LED light bulb signifies reliability and performance as well as energy-saving performance. The reason for the difference is down to the problems faced by ordinary people when compact fluorescent bulbs first appeared.

"Originally, the Department of Energy was very concerned about what happened with compact fluorescent lighting when it first entered the market in that there were all kinds of variations of quality, reliability and performance," Gary Rosenfield, EVP of Marketing & National Accounts at Switch Lighting told Gizmag. (Though the lighting aspects of Energy Star now fall under the jurisdiction of the Environmental Protection Agency, when it came to specifying Energy Star criteria for LED products, it was the DoE.)