New energy efficiency program helps members save money Blue Ridge Electric announces a new program to help members save money by making their homes more energy efficient: The Home Energy Checkup program. Just like our health is better when we visit the doctor regularly, our homes can benefit from an energy efficiency checkup by making us more comfortable and reducing energy costs. Members can start the process by taking the Home Energy Audit at BlueRidgeEMC.com. The audit takes only 10 minutes to complete and the information it provides is powerful! Members not only receive a report of how energy is being used in their home, they also receive a plan on how to reduce usage to lower their electric bill. This information is customized to each individual member because the audit is based on the specific member’s power usage history. It also factors in local weather data as well as member input on how they heat and cool, types of home appliances, and how many people live in the home. Want a more diagnostic evaluation of your home’s energy efficiency? That’s where Blue Ridge Electric’s new Home Energy Checkup program can help. The cooperative has authorized a list of local home energy auditors — our energy checkup specialists. These companies are certified by The Building Performance Institute (BPI), a national standards and credentialing organization for residential energy efficiency work, with the knowledge and tools to accurately assess your situation.
Look for the Home Energy Audit icon at the bottom of BlueRidgeEMC.com. This energy checkup is quick and easy and gives you powerful information that can be used to lower your electric costs.
When you fill out the coupon on the cover wrap of this magazine (or on our website) and give it to one of the authorized auditors to conduct an in-home energy checkup, you’ll receive a $75 rebate which is applied towards the total cost of the audit. Most contractors offer two levels of audits: a basic survey or a more intensive, detailed analysis designed to maximize long-term savings. This offer is good for the first 100 members to redeem the coupon. see “New energy efficiency program” on page 24
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Reducing electricity usage not only helps you save on your electric bill; it’s also good for the environment and helps us leave the world a better place for future generations. As our nation continues to work on a more comprehensive national energy policy, we always knew energy efficiency is the most economical way to help achieve a cleaner environment and to reduce your monthly energy bill. To encourage energy efficiency, your cooperative is providing information and tools to our members. One of the very best tools is the online home energy audit offered at BlueRidgeEMC.com. In the past year, smart meter technology has helped us upgrade this tool so that it’s customized for each member. The audit is now based on your home’s specific electricity usage. And because heating and cooling systems are the largest energy users in any home, local weather data is also factored in. Along with your input, the audit quickly analyzes your home’s energy usage to give you a report of where you’re using electricity along with specific steps you can take to lower your usage and costs. Taking our personalized online energy audit is almost like having a home energy auditor in your home. If you’ve not taken advantage of the audit I highly recommend this tool as your first step to becoming more energy efficient. If you’re looking for a more diagnostic analysis, we’ve just introduced a program that could be right for you: a $75 discount when
With the economy struggling to recover and our nation stepping toward cleaner energy standards, energy efficiency has never been more important for our members, our cooperative and our country as a whole.
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Helping members with energy efficiency
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Offi you have one of our local authocer Doug Johnson rized home energy auditors conduct an in-house audit. You can read more about the program in this issue of the newsletter and be sure to look for the coupon on the front cover of this magazine. There are several exciting things about this new program. First, we’ve screened local home energy auditors based on a set of professional criteria, including being certified by BPI (Building Performance Institute). We’re very lucky to have a number of qualified home energy auditors in our area and we’re excited to be able to recommend local businesses to our members. Secondly, we’re helping make home energy audits even more affordable by offering two choices the coupon may be applied to: Level 1, which is a more basic entry level audit; and Level 2, a more thorough energy audit. You can get more details about how to redeem the coupon with a home energy auditor in this issue, at BlueRidgeEMC.com, or by calling your local Blue Ridge Electric office. We hope you act now, before heating season is here, so that you have time to implement any recommendations and maximize the savings from a home energy audit. We hope these programs and tools inspire our members as we work to make it easier and more economical to take the necessary steps to be more energy efficient. We see energy efficiency as a partnership between Blue Ridge Electric and our members. We hope you join us in our efforts to reduce our impact on the environment while finding the best ways to manage the cost of your monthly electric bill.
Saving starts with education Getting serious about saving energy — and money on your electric bill — starts with knowing how much electricity you use in your home every day. We have two key ways members can begin this education process: First, we have the “Kill-A-Watt EZ device” available for check out in our district offices, local libraries and the ASU Belk Library. This device plugs into appliances and tells you how much electricity they’re using. Next, go to BlueRidgeEMC.com and click on the link to MyUsage.com to begin tracking your daily electricity usage. You can even set alerts that tell you when you’ve reached a certain usage level to better control usage and manage your monthly electric bill!
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More News Winter weatherization To reduce heating costs this winter, take time this fall to make energy efficiency improvements. Suggestions include: 1.
Have heating systems serviced by a professional to ensure they’re operating safely and efficiently. This includes having a good quality filter and changing it according to the manufacturer’s recommendation.
Make sure duct systems have been properly sealed by a professional. Properly sealed and installed duct systems will help avoid unnecessary heating costs and comfort issues.
Make sure ceilings and floors have been properly insulated and sealed. If in doubt, consider having a professional conduct an inspection.
Wrap your water heater if it’s in an unheated area of your home and the outer surface of the tank is warm to the touch. Water heater wraps can be purchased at a discount from any local Blue Ridge Electric office or from our online energy efficiency store.
Also check for air leaks around fixtures that penetrate walls, such as exhaust fans and electrical outlets. Install foam or airtight outlet covers to reduce air leaks around wall switches and outlets. (Always follow the sealant manufacturer’s specifications when applying.)
NC REPS change The NC Renewables/Energy Efficiency line item charge on your bill reflects recovery of costs associated with meeting North Carolina’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (NC REPS). This law was passed by the 2007 NC General Assembly to encourage all utilities to generate and distribute more electricity from renewable resources and to encourage energy efficiency. It requires cooperatives to meet up to 10 percent of our energy sales through these measures by 2018. This year, members saw the following monthly changes starting on September bills: Residential members: 27 cents to 47 cents; Commercial: $1.32 to $2.36; and Industrial: $13.26 to $26.07. The law includes spending caps to protect consumers from extreme cost spikes and to help achieve the NC REPS standards as cost effectively as possible. Your cooperative is coordinating efforts with our wholesale power supplier, Duke Energy Carolinas. As we work to positively impact North Carolina’s environment and energy future, our goal is to implement effective ideas while providing members with the best value. Carolina Country OCTOBER 2011 23
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Members Only NEWS
~For Members of Blue Ridge Electric
Protecting your identity CORPORATE OFFICE PO Box 112 • Lenoir, NC 28645
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Doug Johnson EDITOR Renée R. Whitener PRODUCTION SUPERVISOR Susan Simmons DISTRICT OFFICES Caldwell (828) 754-9071 Watauga (828) 264-8894 Ashe (336) 846-7138 Alleghany (336) 372-4646 Wilkes (800) 451-5474 (800) 448-2383 PowerLine® (PowerLine® is an automated account information and outage reporting system.) Toll Free 1 (800) 451-5474 (for members outside the service area) To report an outage at any time, call one of the numbers listed above. OFFICE HOURS 8:30 am - 5:00 pm, Monday - Friday Night deposit available. Visit us on the Web: www.BlueRidgeEMC.com
Legislation known as the “Red Flags Rule” is requiring companies to take extra steps to detect, prevent and minimize personal identity theft — a problem which affects nine million Americans annually. Members may notice extra measures the cooperative is taking to ensure the security and privacy of your information. While we regret any inconvenience, we assure our members these steps are required and necessary to help fight identity theft. In order to comply with security measures outlined by the Federal Trade Commission which enforces the Red Flags Rule, Blue Ridge Electric cannot share any account information with anyone other than the member. However, members may contact us to add a spouse, child, or others they wish to authorize to have access to their account information. In order for Blue Ridge staff to discuss account information or make adjustments such as payment arrangements, the member or authorized individual must verify their identity as the account holder (member) or authorized user, which can be accomplished using various methods such as providing requested information or showing photo identification. Identity theft costs consumers and businesses millions of dollars each year and causes difficulties for victims trying to repair their good name and credit. We appreciate your patience as we work to help prevent this problem for our members.
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New energy efficiency program Making energy efficiency improvements in your home is one of the best investments you can make for both short- and long-term savings on energy bills and to enhance your home’s value. Reducing energy use is also good for the environment. Take the online Home Energy Audit on BlueRidgeEMC.com today. Then take the next step: use the coupon to save $75 off a more extensive, professional home energy checkup. Find full home energy checkup program details, a list of authorized home energy auditors, and more information at BlueRidgeEMC.com.
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