TVA: Now’s the time to check energy efficiency

tva-logoBy Dennis Seid

Daily Journal

TUPELO – While the heat of summer hasn’t reached a peak, the Tennessee Valley Authority and its power distributors are reminding consumers of ways they can save energy – and money.

The months of June, July and August are traditionally when power bills are the highest, as consumers try to deal with the heat by cranking up their air conditioners. But that also puts a strain on the electric grid.

And while summer temperatures haven’t spiked, “they’re coming,” said David Sparks, TVA’s sales and marketing manager of customer resources. “There are things you can do to prepare. … For example, the TVA’s In-Home Energy Evaluation Program, while it costs $50 initially, is fully refundable.”

A TVA representative inspects a home, then issues a report outlining the potential energy-saving improvements – like adding insulation or installing energy-efficient windows. The work has to be done by a contractor that’s a member of the TVA Quality Contractor Network within 90 days.

“TVA will pay up to $500 for that work,” Sparks said.

With temperatures moderating this week thanks to a cold front, TVA spokesman Chris Stanley said now is a good time for consumers to look into the program, which is available year-round.

“We’ve done more than 80,000 of these evaluations across the valley,” Sparks added.

He also said having qualified contractors do the work is important. After the work is done, an inspection is done to ensure it was done properly.

“There’s a level of confidence that the work is done right, that it will be done in the right way,” he said. “They know the requirements we’re looking for.”

Steve Tarpley, membership services director for Tombigbee Electric, said another energy-saving tool customers can use during the winter is its Heat Pump Program, which is funded through Regions Bank.

“Customers get a low-interest loan to get an efficient heat pump,” he said. “We had a lot of people this past winter find out some of the problems with their old units. … we’ve done a lot of heat pump installations, probably 150 to 200 since then.”

Insulation to attics, crawl spaces and accessible exterior walls help save energy year-round.

“If you’re getting a new roof, you can check on the insulation levels and add more if needed,” he said.

For more information about the in-home inspection, customers can contact their local power distributor.

Additional energy-saving tips are available on TVA’s website at www.tva.gov.

dennis.seid@journalinc.com