The Cheapest Energy Is What You Don’t Use!

Update on Municipal Utility Companies

Many electric utilities offer assistance to help their customers improve efficiency for their homes and businesses. These types of assistance include:

  • Education
  • Rebates
  • On-site Assessments
  • Discounts on Efficient Lights and Equipment
  • Old Appliance Removal / Recycling

Several municipal electric utilities offer some form of efficiency program assistance as well. By helping customers reduce their demand for energy, utilities can lower the costs of growing and maintaining the transmission and delivery system.

The most common program among Ohio’s municipal power companies is called Efficiency Smart.  According to its website, twenty-one of Ohio’s municipal electric utilities participate in the Efficiency Smart program. Each community participates in different ways. Some only offer a few of the program components, and others offer all components. Here is a brief overview of the various program components:

For the Home

Product Rebates: Covered items include smart thermostats ($25), refrigerators ($50) and pool pumps ($175 variable speed, $50 two-speed).

Product Discounts: An online product store offers items such as LED light bulbs, smart thermostats and advanced power strips. The website shows the discounts with the prices and where applicable, the rebates are built in to the price to cut down on paperwork after you upgrade.

Appliance Recycling: Schedule a pick-up and get cash back.

Meter Loan: A monitor that your appliances can be plugged in to can illustrate the amount of power each one uses to help you understand how much you can save with a more efficient appliance.

For the Business

Business Energy Rebates (available to customers using less than 500,000 kWh per year): Cash rebates are available for lighting ($4-$50 per for indoor, $40-$100 per for outdoor), lighting controls, refrigeration, HVAC, compressed air systems and variable frequency drives.

Custom Program (customers using more than 500,000 kWh per year): Provides financial incentives, technical assistance, and consultative services. Energy engineers offer technical assistance and a dedicated program liaison works with the business from start to finish.

How to Take Advantage of the Program

The Efficiency Smart website is very easy to navigate and has a custom page for each participating municipal electric utility. To take the guess work out of whether or not your local utility participates, call your utility and ask! The telephone number is on your utility bill.

There are some municipal utilities that do not participate in Efficiency Smart or otherwise offer efficiency rebates. Don’t feel left out! The costs of LED lights and smart thermostats continue to get cheaper and cheaper, and they are very easy to install. While rebates can be helpful in accelerating the return on investment, it is not the sole determinant. Upgrading with efficient, Energy Star rated lights and equipment will start saving money on your utility bill right away.

As always, remember that the best efficiency equipment is the on/off switch. Lights turned off are far more efficient than even the most efficient LED lights.