In the late 70s, when America found itself facing an energy crisis, a saying began to circulate: If there are no throw blankets on your sofa, you have your thermostat set too high.
Today, Americans face a different kind of crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic not only threatens our health, but for many of us, our finances, too. Job losses and reduction in work hours have left many struggling to keep the bills paid. Throw in extreme weather – like the cold front that is expected to arrive today – and the challenge is only intensified.
Starkville Utilities Manager Terry Kemp says that at any given time, 10 to 15 percent of his customers face delinquent utility bills. While no one can do anything about the weather, there are measures that can be taken to cut down on utility bills.
There are ways to save, but you have to know them.
Toward that end, Friends of J.L. King Center and Starkville Utilities, with help from TVA, are providing a weekly, one-hour class to help those who have fallen into delinquency find ways to make their homes more energy efficient.
While some measures can be expensive — purchasing more energy-efficient appliances is one example — there are many things people can do that cost little or nothing at all. Turning up or down the thermostat a few degrees, depending on the season is an example of that.
As an incentive to participate in these “Power Up” classes, anyone who attends the class is eligible to have their delinquent bill reduced, up to 50-percent in some cases.
That incentive, while appealing, isn’t the greatest benefit of the class. Future savings from implementing the measures taught in the class will, in the long run, produce far greater savings over time.
This instruction covers things such as weather stripping, insulation, weatherizing windows and doors, how LED light bulbs can reduce power usage and how water heaters and HVAC systems affect power usage.
Once participants complete the class, they will be partnered with a “mentor” to come to their residence and show them how to make energy-efficient changes. The mentor inspection is particularly helpful, since there are many, many things that can reduce energy usage that may not be obvious.
The J.L. King Center, Starkville Utilities and TVA are to be commended for providing this information.
We urge Starkville residents who are behind on their utility bills to take advantage of this opportunity, and we urge everyone to look for ways to improve efficiency at their homes and businesses.