Saturday, November 15, 2008

MLGW customers learn techniques to lower bills

The CA has a nice piece on our EnergySmart program today...

MLGW customers learn techniques to lower bills
By Linda Moore

If the pie charts and pint-sized windows and doors don't hold their audiences' attention, three former MLGW employees know this will do the trick: The promise of lower utility bills.

Retirees Fletcher Roberts, Charles Echols and Eugene Eddins lead the Energy Smart Memphis workshops with assurances that the techniques they're demonstrating require only a little common sense and are easy to do.

The workshops are part of Energy Smart Memphis, a free program sponsored by the Tennessee Valley Authority and Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division.

They give hands-on instruction on how to caulk a window, weather strip doors and perform other simple tasks to weatherize a home.

Participants leave with a TVA-provided kit, a goody bag stuffed with materials that include compact fluorescent light bulbs, weather stripping, a caulking gun and caulk, sealers for switch and outlet plates and indoor window insulating kits.

"It's is an opportunity to talk about ways our customers can save energy," said Jacquelyn Royston, acting supervisor of residential services and a residential energy technician.

Since its inception last year, about 2,500 people have gone through the workshop, Royston said.

That includes Shelby County Sheriff's Office Lt. Ernest Long, who organized a workshop last November for Greater Middle Baptist Church, where he is a deacon and trustee.

"So far there's been a big difference. I don't get that coolness in the house that I did in the winter now. And it hadn't taken as much to cool it this summer either," Long said.

As word of the usefulness of the kits leaked out, more members have asked to attend a workshop.

"It seemed like most of the people who got those kits used them and then told their friends about it," Long said.

Energy Smart is one of a number of pilot programs running throughout the TVA system, said Gary Harris, TVA general manager of customer service for West Tennessee.

While the goal of the utility customer may be to save money, TVA sees the program as a way to save energy.

"The primary reason is to help us deal with our growing energy demand here in the Tennessee Valley," Harris said. "We've gotten to point where our resources are maxed out. If we can educate the public at the resident level on how to save energy, it helps us buy some time to bring on new generating capacity."

Energy Smart is running only in Memphis, but TVA officials are extremely happy with it, Harris said.

It will be assessed, tweaked if necessary and could be rolled out in other communities.

"We're going to have to work together, because the consumer really has more control than they think they have," Harris said.

-- Linda A. Moore: 529-2702

Learn More

To schedule a workshop, e-mail Jacquelyn Royston at, call 528-4181, or fax 528-7726.

To learn more or receive a kit with energy-saving materials go to or

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