The Electrical Blog

Tonia Nifong

Recent Posts

Save Money with a Home Energy Audit from CSU

Posted by Tonia Nifong on Tue, Dec 10, 2013

image of a house
Evaluate your energy costs with a home audit from CSU.

With the holiday season in full swing, chances are that the last thing on your “to-do” list is a home energy audit. But as soon as we turn the corner into 2014, you may want to consider ways to reduce your home energy costs.

To help you accomplish this, Colorado Springs Utilities offers a complimentary home energy audit, and it only takes about 15 to 20 minutes to complete. This audit is designed to help you identify any areas in which you may be wasting money on inefficient energy usage.

To learn more about this free service, please visit the Colorado Springs Utilities website, or click here.

Topics: Service Department, Community

Employee Spotlight: Susie Kellogg

Posted by Tonia Nifong on Wed, Dec 04, 2013

For more than 90 years, Berwick Electric Co. has enjoyed a solid reputation in the Colorado Springs community. And, behind such consistently great work is a very talented team of individuals. Today we have the privilege of shining a “spotlight” on BEC staff member Susie Kellogg. For nearly 21 years, Susie has honed her skills as BEC’s payroll specialist.  We invite you to get to know Susie better by following along with our conversation below.

Image of Susie Kellogg
BEC Payroll Specialist Susie Kellogg

Berwick Electric Co. (BEC): Where are you originally from?
Susie Kellogg (SK): I’m originally from Ludington, Michigan. I moved to Colorado Springs in 1982.

BEC: What do you enjoy about your position at BEC?
SK: I enjoy interacting with everyone, including the electricians; I like keeping them happy.

BEC: Outside of work, how do you like to spend your time?
SK: I like quilting, camping, attending church functions, and traveling.

BEC: Is there anything else that you would like to share?
SK: I’m going to miss all of the retirees! We have so many of them this year.

Need quality, reliable commercial or residential electrical service? Berwick Electric Co. would love the opportunity to serve you. Please call us at 632.7683 or click here to request service.  

Topics: Community

Embracing Gratitude: BEC is Thankful for You

Posted by Tonia Nifong on Thu, Nov 28, 2013

Today is a day to pause and reflect on the many blessings that you, your friends, and your family encounter on a daily basis. Waking up to another day is an opportunity to express gratitude for things large and small, and maintaining a grateful heart is actually shown to reduce stress and boost health. Below, you will find some thoughts from BEC staff members about what they are thankful for, as well a special blog reader offer! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!  

“I am thankful for Berwick Electric Co., who has provided me with 36 years of steady employment.” Because of this, I will be able to retire at the age of 58.”
    -Clay Gafford, project manager

“I’m thankful to have the Lord in my life. And, I’m thankful for a healthy family since my daughter has overcome her breast cancer.”
    -Susie Kellogg, accounts receivable specialist

“I’m thankful for our employees and the culture of respect, honesty, and professionalism that they have helped create and maintain at Berwick Electric Co. For three generations, it has been the employees that continue to build our reputation. I feel blessed to be surrounded by individuals who have become my second family and shareholders who strive to perpetuate this incredible culture.”
    -Doug Berwick, owner/treasurer

And now, to express our gratitude for our blog readers and customers, here is a special offer just for you. Click on the image below for a printable version of the coupon.


Image of Thanksgiving 2013 Blog Offer

Topics: Service Department, Community

Christmas Decorating Safety Tips

Posted by Tonia Nifong on Fri, Nov 22, 2013

Like many other Americans, the day after Thanksgiving may be your chosen time to decorate for the holidays. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, roughly 200 people per day are injured during the holiday season. To help you avoid becoming one of them, we've put together some very simple tips to help keep you safe this season. Simply click on a photo in the gallery below for a Christmas décor safety tip!

If you have any other helpful safety tips, we encourage you to share them in the comments box below! In the meantime, safe decorating!


Topics: Service Department, Community

Relax! 5 Holiday Stress-Relief Tips

Posted by Tonia Nifong on Wed, Nov 20, 2013

The holiday season. It’s a time of joy, rest, relaxation, and family. Wait, what? Although extra rest and relaxation during the holidays is an ideal scenario, it rarely seems to be reality. According the American Psychological Association, 69 percent of people feel stressed by a lack of time and money during the holidays. So what can you do to take back the joy of the season? For starters, take a breather. Then, read the simple tips below for a reminder on how to slow down and gain perspective during the upcoming busy season.

1. Take stock of time you spend online. While most people feel strapped for time during the stretch from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, many people don’t realize how much time they actually spend online. According to this infographic, Americans spend an average of 32 hours per month online, with 22 percent of that time spent on social networking sites. That’s nearly an entire workweek spent online! Whether connected via a traditional computer or a mobile device, intentionally taking time to disconnect frees time and space for other things. Or, with that extra time you could take a power nap and simply relax.

2. Lower your expectations. A major cause of stress and anger is blocked goals. And, during the holidays, blocked goals abound! From long shopping lines to family stress, when things don’t turn out the way you pictured them in your mind, it’s hard to enjoy the season. At the outset of the holidays, take time to realize that you can’t control everything. Some things will not go as planned. Lowering your expectations helps you live in the moment and appreciate what’s important this season.

Image of Holiday Stress
Feeling stressed this season? Don't. Instead, make a plan and relax.

3. Volunteer. It’s long been documented that taking time to give back to others not only lowers stress, but it also makes you feel great about yourself. Making time to give back during the holidays takes your focus off of yourself, reminding you about what’s important. For a list of ideas for how to give back this season, click here.

4. Journal. In her article, Carolyn Ziel explains the stress relieving benefits of journaling. Rather than keeping all of your thoughts and emotions mind-bound, find release by getting them out on paper. Fitting with the theme of this time of year, Ziel also suggests starting a gratitude journal. Focusing on the things for which you are thankful helps boost your attitude. And, a positive, relaxed attitude almost always benefits those around you.

5. Plan for enough exercise and rest. Rather than planning holiday menus and finishing shopping at the last minute, plan ahead. Spending even 10 to 15 minutes prioritizing and planning when things will get done helps prevent you from skimping on sleep and exercise in a last-minute crunch to get everything done. Lack of rest and exercise tends to make everything feel harder. So plan wisely! For tips and ideas on how to plan ahead this holiday season, click here.

This holiday season, we hope that you choose to focus on the joy of the season, rather than on all of the to-do’s. Do you have any other helpful, stress-relief tips? If so, please share them in the comments box below. We wish you and your family a healthy, stress-free holiday season!

Topics: Community

Three Energy-Saving Light Bulbs

Posted by Tonia Nifong on Tue, Nov 12, 2013

As the days grow shorter with the approaching winter season, chances are that your energy bill may grow as well. If you’re not already using energy-efficient light bulbs, now is the time to make the switch. New energy standards, which were rolled out in 2012, call for light bulbs to use 25 percent less energy than traditional, incandescent light bulbs. Using inefficient light bulbs is like choosing to throw money away, and who wants to do that? To help you avoid this pitfall, here are three energy-efficient light bulbs to replace incandescent bulbs.

image of energy efficient light bulb
Energy-efficient CFLs use about 75% less
energy than incandescent bulbs.

1. LED light bulbs. LED stands for light emitting diode, and these bulbs work by using semiconductors that convert electricity into light. According to, LED light bulbs average about 75 to 80 percent energy savings over their lifespan, and they last up to 25 percent longer than incandescent bulbs. To learn more about how to choose an LED light bulb, click here.

2. CFL light bulbs. Compact fluorescent lamps, known as CFLs, utilize a long tube fluorescent light that is wound up in the bulb. In his article on CFLs, William Harris explains that CFLs are more energy efficient, because they use an entirely different mechanism than incandescent bulbs to create light. Instead of the glowing filament that is used in incandescent bulbs, CFLs use argon and mercury vapor in a spiral-shaped tube. A ballast in the bulb creates an electric current that passes through the vapor and creates ultraviolet light. Next, the ultraviolet light stimulates fluorescent coating on the outside of the bulb, which then emits visible light. These bulbs use about 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs, and, according to ENERGY STAR, if every home in America swapped out just one incandescent bulb for a CFL, we would save about $600 million in annual energy costs.

3. Halogen light bulbs. In terms of energy efficiency, halogen light bulbs are somewhere in between incandescent and fluorescent bulbs. Designed to replace inefficient incandescent bulbs, halogen bulbs use a gas from the halogen group. This article explains that when the gas in halogen light bulbs heats, it combines with atoms from the tungsten filament. It then deposits them on the filament, enabling the filament to last much longer than an incandescent bulb and averaging an energy savings of about 28%. To learn more about energy-saving halogen bulbs, click here.

When it comes to saving energy on lighting costs, making the switch to energy-efficient bulbs is a must. And, with new energy standards and a variety of bulbs from which to choose, the switch has never been easier. For more insight on which bulbs might work best for you, check out this article from The Daily Green, which compares the light quality of LED, CFL, and halogen bulbs. In the meantime, we hope you choose to light your life wisely!

Topics: Service Department, Community

Staff Highlight: Kathleen Kisseberth

Posted by Tonia Nifong on Tue, Nov 05, 2013

Berwick Electric Co.’s staff is a very talented group of individuals. Not only are they good at what they do, but they are also passionate! Today we have the privilege of highlighting BEC Front Desk Administrator Kathleen Kisseberth. Kathleen is likely to be the first person that you speak with when contacting BEC. We invite you to follow along with our conversation below.

Image of Kathleen Kisseberth
Kathleen Kisseberth

Berwick Electric Co. (BEC): How long have you worked with Berwick?
Kathleen Kisseberth (KK): I actually just reached my one-year anniversary on Friday, November 1.

BEC: Are you a Colorado native?
KK: No, I was born in Utah. However, I claim Maryland as home, because that’s where I grew up.

BEC: What do you enjoy about what you do?
KK: I really enjoy answering the phones! But seriously, I like helping potential customers, suppliers, and repeat customers get the help that they need. Making a great, helpful first impression is so critical to maintaining the wonderful reputation that Berwick Electric Co. already enjoys.

BEC: What do you like to do outside of work?
KK: I love to spend time with my children, and I enjoy attending their marching band and orchestra events. I also like needle point, model rocketry, and cooking.

BEC: Is there anything else that you would like to share?
KK: While I may be one of Berwick’s newer employees, I’m glad to be here. I genuinely enjoy trying to find ways to help anyone who calls for information. And, if I can’t help, I’m happy to find somebody who can!
If you are looking for excellent commercial or residential electrical service, Berwick Electric Co. would love the opportunity to serve you. Please call us at 632.7683 or click here to request service.

Topics: Community

A Day in the Life of an Electrician: Michael Lucas

Posted by Tonia Nifong on Wed, Oct 16, 2013

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to work with electricity all day? Today we have the pleasure of taking a peek into the average day for BEC Electrician Michael Lucas, a.k.a. Lucas. From juggling a busy schedule to working safely with electricity, Lucas rarely has a dull moment!

Image of Electrician Michael Lucas
 BEC Electrician Michael Lucas

Berwick Electric (BE): How long have you been an electrician?  
Michael Lucas (ML): I’ve been an electrician for a total of eight years; four of those years were spent as an apprentice, and I’ve been a journeyman electrician for the last four years.  Before I was an electrician, I was in theatre for 12 years. Very different industries! The apprenticeship is essentially your schooling as an electrician. The next designation after journeyman electrician is master electrician. This designation enables an electrician to do more design and build work, which is more focused on the technical aspect of the electrical process.

BE: What do you like about your job?
ML: There are a lot of things that I enjoy about my job! As a service driver, I enjoy the challenge that each different job provides. No matter what the electrical job is, I really enjoy meeting new people; there are a lot of fun people out there! Whether I’m hunting down a loose neutral, or installing an outlet or a switch, I generally enjoy what I do. I also like the fact that you really have to know what you’re doing. Working with electricity is dangerous; if you’re not careful, there’s always the possibility of injuring yourself or others. Electricians have to be smart workers while watching out for other people. The electrical field is always growing, so there’s always something new to learn.

BE: What is a typical morning like for you?
ML: Well, my mornings are pretty average. I usually arrive to the shop early to enjoy a cup of coffee, talk with the guys, and finish any paperwork from the previous day. After that, I’m usually out in the service van on my way to the day’s jobs. It’s not necessarily exciting, but that’s generally how a typical morning goes. Once the day starts, the morning and the afternoon tend to blur together. I usually get in the zone, and the days fly by.

BE: What are some of the challenges of your job?
ML: Being an electrician is definitely a challenging job. Solving electrical problems can be like playing detective. For example, if a loose neutral is causing a problem, finding the loose neutral can be quite a challenge. A loose neutral is literally a neutral wire that has gone loose somewhere in the house and is wreaking havoc with the voltage in the rest of the house. These aren’t easy to find, as they can be located in the switchbox, an outlet, a light fixture, in the attic, in the panel, at the meter, or even out by the city. As an electrician you really have to think logically in order to figure it out.

Balancing a busy schedule can also be interesting. Emergencies often pop up, and you have to find creative ways to deal with them. In one such case, a large, telecommunications facility lost power to an entire building when one transformer blew and took two other transformers with it. We had to figure out a way to get the building up and running in a safe, temporary manner until we could find a permanent solution.

BE: Do you have any funny stories from your service calls?
ML: One time a customer and her husband thought that their garbage disposal had quit working. They purchased a brand new garbage disposal and called me to wire it. In the process, I discovered that their current garbage disposal simply needed to be reset. Many people aren’t aware that most garbage disposals have reset buttons on the bottom. When a garbage disposal is too full, the motor has trouble moving and it overheats (called thermal overload). Usually all you have to do is push a reset button!

Another time I solved an electrical problem for a customer in five minutes. Because she paid for an entire hour, I asked her if she needed help with anything else. She handed me a broom, and I swept the kitchen and dining room.

BE: What does continuing education look like for electricians?
ML: After the four-year apprenticeship (or 8,000 hours of on-the-job training), you can go on to become a master electrician. There are also a wide variety of specialty certifications that you can obtain, such as motor controls, photovoltaic solar panels, working with hot gear (while the electricity is active), and many more. You really have the opportunity to specialize in one niche, or you can become a “jack of all trades.”  


If you need quality, reliable electrical service, contact Berwick Electric Co. at 719-632-7983. You can also click here to request service online.

Topics: Service Department, Community

BEC Honors American Medical Response

Posted by Tonia Nifong on Fri, Oct 11, 2013

Berwick Electric Co. is proud to honor the American Medical Response (AMR) team as October’s public safety employees. During the Black Forest Fire, AMR was an essential emergency responder, helping families quickly evacuate.

For more than 30 years, AMR has provided 9-1-1 emergency services, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. AMR pursues its mission of caring for people in need by meeting patients’ unique needs and by giving back to the community. You can learn more about AMR by clicking here.

Topics: Community

Innovative Energy: Solar Power

Posted by Tonia Nifong on Thu, Oct 10, 2013

The sun is powerful; in just one hour, the sun provides more energy to the earth than the energy produced by all nations in one year. With a rising need for energy sources that are both cost-effective and environment-friendly, harnessing the sun’s massive energy output is at the forefront of renewable energy. And, for energy pioneers in the Colorado Springs community, solar energy has an important place in increasing efficiency while reducing cost.  Keep reading to learn more.

Local Solar Energy Gardens Ease Energy Loads

Venetucci Farm Solar Panel
 Solar panels at Venetucci Farm.

When a region reaches its peak power demand, solar power helps by contributing power back to the grid for that specific area. To help ease power loads in densely-populated areas of Colorado Springs, Berwick Electric Co. (BEC) had the opportunity to partner with other contractors on local solar garden projects.

“We’ve (BEC) contributed to two solar garden projects, one at Venetucci Farm and the other located at Good Shepherd United Methodist Church,” BEC Project Manager James Rockhill said. “These solar gardens are self-power-generating systems that funnel energy back into the power grid to reduce the demand in those areas.”

Strategically set in rural areas outside of the city, each solar garden is comprised of solar panels made of photovoltaic cells. Each cell generates a certain amount of watts, and each panel is wired together into a series that harvests a specific amount of power. Next, an inverter collects the power and converts the direct current to usable, alternating current. The result is a reduction in consumer energy loads.

“Before implementing the solar gardens, we conducted a geographic survey to determine the best location,” James explained. “We worked with engineers to select locations near the power grid, where the cells receive sun exposure 90 percent of the time. The engineers were also an integral part of garden design process,” he added. “Each garden produces approximately 500 kilowatts.”

Solar Energy is Clean Energy

In addition to easing the load on heavily-burdened energy grids, solar power is also a clean, environmentally-kind energy source. “Solar energy systems help lower pollution. One major way they do this is by reducing the amount of coal consumption,” James said.

Good Shepherd Solar Panels
 Solar panels at Good Shepherd United Methodist Church.

According to Travis Hoium’s article for, one kilowatt of power generated from solar panels is so energy efficient that it prevents 150 pounds of coal from being mined, 300 pounds of carbon dioxide from being emitted, and 105 gallons of water from being consumed. If this is the benefit from just one kilowatt of solar-generated energy, imagine the cumulative impact on the environment with increased reliance on solar energy! And, we may continue to see solar power become a viable source of energy, as studies show that the cost to install a utility-scale solar system has dropped 45.8 percent since 2010.

Even though solar energy still has a long way to grow, more people are choosing to take advantage of its benefits. “In the last five years, we’ve seen an increase in the use of solar energy,” James explained. “In addition to the two solar gardens that BEC has helped create, the Air Force Academy also utilizes a solar garden. There are also a few businesses downtown that have solar panels on their rooftops.”

As we look for more efficient, cost-effective energy sources, solar power may emerge as a strong contender in the years to come. If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of solar energy, check out this article. What are your thoughts about using energy efficiently? We encourage you to share them in the comments box below.

Topics: Service Department, Community