Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

July 24, 2013

Energizing Indiana saves Hoosiers money

By Amanda Browning Daily News
Greensburg Daily News

---- — GREENSBURG – As the cost of living continues to rise, many people have begun looking for ways to save money anywhere possible; luckily, several Indiana utility providers have come together to provide a solution to Hoosiers.

In a united effort by the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC), statewide energy efficiency programs are being offered by participating utilities and consumer organizations. The program, called Energizing Indiana, began in January of 2012 and has since saved more than 603 million kilowatts of energy, which is enough energy to power 48,525 Indiana homes for a year, according to the Energy Information Agency. Because of the program, Hoosier homes and businesses have seen energy savings and taken a collective step toward a healthier environment for Indiana.

As part of the program, Indiana homes and businesses can receive energy assessments, free of charge. In its first full year, the initiative has performed more than 82,000 energy assessments for Indiana homeowners, giving them the tools necessary to save money by decreasing energy usage and increasing their home’s performance. Energizing Indiana offers energy efficient light bulbs at deeply discounted rates and more than 2.6 million bulbs have been purchased since the inception of the program. Hoosier businesses have also received over $5.1 million in incentives for upgrading lighting and equipment to energy-efficient models.

“The enthusiastic response we’ve received during the first year of the initiative signals that Hoosiers value energy efficiency and we look forward to making an even bigger impact in the second year,” said Bob Nuss, managing director for Energizing Indiana. “In year two, we are eager to get even more homeowners, consumers, businesses and schools involved so they can reap the benefits of energy efficiency.”

Electricity customers of Duke Energy, Indiana Michigan Power, Indianapolis Power and Light Company, NIPSCO and Vectren, as well as the communities served by the Indiana Municipal Power Agency qualify for the Energizing Indiana Home Energy Assessments, which are funded by utility rates and require no separate fees to participate.

“Much of Energizing Indiana’s first-year success can be attributed to the fact that it is a comprehensive initiative, offering a variety of programs, with something for everyone,” said Indiana Utility Consumer Conselor David Stippler.

During the program’s Residential Home Energy Assesments, an energy advisor assesses the home’s energy use, recommends appropriate efficiency measures and installs a kit full of energy saving items, all of which benefit the homeowner. The Income Qualified Weatherization program offers qualified homeowners the opportunity to allow Energizing Indiana to make weather-related efficiency improvements to the home. All consumers can benefit from the Residential Lighting program, which provides large discounts on energy-efficient lighting available at participating retail locations.

The improvements made or suggested by the energy advisor during the home assessment will ultimately lead to lower energy consumption and thus lower utility bills. Many of the improvements will be easy to implement and will be at no-cost or low-cost. Nearly 80 percent of the state can participate in the Energizing Indiana program, with absolutely no fees. Some of the recommended improvements include replacing incandescent bulbs with the energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), installing low-flow faucet aerators, low-flow shower heads, and water heater insulation wrap on electric water heaters. Making a home more energy-efficient can lower energy use, improve air quality and even increase the home’s value, according to Energizing Indiana.

“Home Energy Assessments are a pain-free way to learn how to improve the energy efficiency of your home, leading to lower energy use,” said Bob Nuss. “Thousand of homeowners have already undergone these assessments, and many have found that following through on some of the recommendations has led to a reduction in their energy consumption the first month.”

There are programs to benefit schools as well. Fifth grade students can learn about energy efficiency and how to implement it in their daily lives through the School Education program. The School Building Assessment program can identify the areas of the school building that are energy inefficient and provide recommendations for improvements. Through the Commercial and Industrial Prescriptive Rebates program, businesses can also receive incentives for upgrading to energy efficient equipment and lighting.

Homeowners can sign up for a Home Energy Assessment by visiting www.energizingindiana.com and clicking on the “Residential Home Energy Assessments” tab, or by calling 888-446-7750. Energizing Indiana also provides a network of HVAC, lighting and appliance suppliers, as well as electrical contractors available to work with facility managers to determine and realize their energy-saving needs. To learn more or to get an application for the Commercial and Industrial Prescriptive Rebate Program, business owners and facility managers should visit www.energizingindiana.com and click on the “Programs” tab, then the “Commercial and Industrial Prescriptive Rebates” link, or call 888-446-7750.

With such a variety of programs available and no cost to participate, it becomes difficult to find a reason for not participating and making one’s home more energy-efficient with lower utility bills. Customer testimonials on the Energizing Indiana website testify to the fact the the workers doing the energy assessments are knowledgeable, friendly and respectful people who care about their jobs and the people they service. Energizing Indiana has a wealth of information available and staff that is more than willing to answer any questions. It seems likely that in coming years, the program will grow and Indiana will become a more energy-efficient state, which will benefit everyone.

Contact: Amanda Browning 812-663-3111 x7004