Make Energy Efficiency Programs Efficient
Electric Co-op Today, May 3, 2016. Image credit: Alexas_Fotos
It’s ironic: Energy efficiency saves consumers money, but it can cost electric cooperatives a bundle to run a program.
That doesn’t have to be the case. A new report from NRECA’s Business and Technology Strategies unit looks at where co-ops are running up costs and how to have a more efficient energy efficiency program.
“When you look at co-ops, because we’re so heavily residential and have more low-income folks than other sectors of the utility industry, it drives up the costs of our energy efficiency programs,” said Brian Sloboda, BTS program manager.
One suggestion is talking with those in the know.
“HVAC firms are inside homes. They see the appliances people have,” Sloboda said. “Go down to the local appliance store and ask what folks are coming in to buy. Is there a trend? This can help you pick the most beneficial program.”
Co-ops should also talk to community leaders as well as to the members themselves—and not just at the annual meeting.
“Go to the volunteer fire department during bingo and set up an information table,” Sloboda said. “Is everyone complaining about their home being drafty? You may need a weatherization program. Are people complaining about excessively high bills? You may need an HVAC program.”