Energy & Safety Education

At New Richmond Utilities, we believe that nothing is as important to the future of the community as our young citizens. We pride ourselves on our commitment to energy and safety education in New Richmond.

Whether it’s through the classroom or the community, we strive to provide a strong network of information to further educate community members about electric and water subjects and how it relates to customers both young and old.

As part of our ongoing educational efforts, New Richmond Utilities provides educational materials and presentations to schools, service groups and seniors. We also provide teaching units, videos, publications and workshops to interested groups all year long.

The following are just a few examples of our energy and safety education tools.

  • National Theatre For Children
  • powerTOWN
  • Coloring Books, Crayons and stickers displayed in the office for children
  • Informational booklets displayed in the office

Water Week Presentations

In April this year Utilities participated in Water Week throughout Wisconsin. New Richmond Utilities made several presentations at Paperjack, Hillside and Starr Elementaries and St. Mary's to the 4th and 5th grade classes. Bob Meyer, Water Department and Steve Skinner, Wastewater Treatment Plant, from New Richmond Utilities explained how our water and wastewater systems work here in New Richmond. The water department also brought their trucks and equipment to the school so the students could get a first hand look at how they do their jobs. The Utilities have done this at the schools for several years and it is a good learning experience for the 4th and 5th grade classes.

KEEP scholarships

The utility provides scholarships for local teachers to attend KEEP — the statewide K-12 Energy Education Program. KEEP is a 16-hour in-service that helps teachers integrate hands-on energy education activities into their classrooms. The program also demonstrates how teachers can use energy education to ensure that their students meet Wisconsin academic standards.

KEEP makes the sometimes-intimidating topic of energy understandable to students of all ages. Second graders can learn about the coal mining process as they “find resources” in chocolate chip cookies. Middle school students can experiment with properties of motors by modeling an electric motor. High school students can discuss “energy futures” by studying energy trends and new technologies.

A Bugs Light National Theatre for Children

Each year, the utility sponsors two live theatre shows presented by the Minneapolis-based National Theatre for Children! (NTC). NTC tours the United States presenting lively, interactive educational shows.

NTC is dedicated to educating young people on important and timely energy-related topics. Coined with printed curriculum materials and teacher guides, their imaginative and customized presentations effectively reach the students, teachers and parents.


New Richmond Utilities sponsors multiple learning opportunities for area students.

Second grade students recently took a tour of PowerTown with Tom Rickard, New Richmond Utilities Electric Superintendent. Using a model city complete with transformers, power lines, poles and substations, Rickard demonstrated to students how to stay safe around electrical distribution equipment. Students saw examples of electrical accidents with live electricity providing attention-getting arcs.

“Electricity and electrical equipment are such a common part of modern life that children and adults sometimes forget to act safely,” Rickard said. “PowerTown is meant to dramatically show what can happen when electrical safety rules are not obeyed.”

PowerTown is an eight-foot electrical safety model that demonstrates the dangerous effects of contact with overhead power lines, transformers, downed overhead power lines and more. With the crackle of a high voltage electrical arc, the PowerTown presentation makes a lasting impression to reinforce electrical safety messages while miniature homes, people, cars and low-level electrical currents visually demonstrate hazards. The program also included a 10 minute “Louie the Lightning Bug” video that focused on electrical use and safety.

Pedal Power

Another activity educated fourth grade students about energy use through a bicycle in a “Pedal Power” demonstration. Students rode the Pedal Power bicycle and learned the amount of energy it would take to power different light bulbs, a fan, and a hair dryer. Pedaling became increasingly more difficult as additional electrical loads were added, teaching students that it takes a lot less energy to light an LED lamp or a fluorescent light bulb than it does an incandescent light bulb.

“New Richmond Utilities continues to support the development and implementation of energy education programs for our students, as it is our goal to educate the next generation of energy users and allow them to experience and understand energy-saving principles in action,” said Weston Arndt, WPPI Energy Services Representative.

For more information, contact New Richmond Utilities at (715) 246-4167.