February 10, 2020 Home
Using less electricity by weatherizing your house, is one of the best ways to save on your electric bill. Even small upgrades like sealing ducts and caulking windows will help. Improvements like new heat pumps and insulation can make a bigger difference in your electric bill, plus making homes healthier and more comfortable.
Electric cooperatives like Powell Valley Electric Cooperative (PVEC) can be part of a program called “Pay As You Save“, or PAYS. APPALACHIAN ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE (AEC) IS THE FIRST CO-OP IN TENNESSEE TO OFFER PAYS. The co-op uses federal funding to cover the upfront costs of home weatherization. An approved contractor visits the member’s home to decide which upgrades will be most cost effective, installs the upgrades, and over time the member pays back the cost with a small charge on their bill, called a “tariff”.
The co-op member is saving money from the improvements, so the bill still goes down, even with the added charge. There is no loan involved. This weatherization program is very helpful because members do not need good credit and are not required to be in a certain income bracket to participate.
Appalachian Electric Co-op (serving Grainger, Hamblen, and Jefferson Counties) launched their PAYS program in March of 2019, calling it “U-Save Advantage”, after receiving $5 million in zero interest funding from the USDA “Rural Energy Savings Program”. AEC has now completed upgrades on 54 homes. The average gross savings on a monthly bill for these homes is $68.81. The tariff to repay the weatherization has averaged $49.92, resulting in a net savings of $18.89 per month or $227 per year.
AEC plans to weatherize more than 800 homes in this program by the end of 2021. Besides the savings on the electric bill, this work improves the quality of life in your home and adds to the value of your home. For more information on the AEC program, go to aecoop.org and search “U-Save Advantage“.
POWELL VALLEY ELECTRIC CO-OP COULD IMPLEMENT A PROGRAM LIKE THIS, and there are organizations out there who can help. For example, Liberty Homes (libertyhomes.org) assists electric coops apply for federal funding to support projects like this. If you would like to see our electric cooperative offer this PAYS weatherization program, contact your PVEC board member and ask about it.
If you know of programs at other electric cooperatives that benefit member-owners, please let us know by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Everyone needs to learn more about our electric cooperative. For more information, go to pve.coop .