TVA program pays up to $500 to customers for energy cuts

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Energy efficiency doesn’t have to be boring.
Just ask the students at Church Street Elementary School who on Thursday squealed and laughed during a skit about saving electricity.
The performance coincided with a new energy initiative by the Tennessee Valley Authority, the city of Tupelo and local utility companies. They’re offering financial incentives to those who make homes and businesses more energy efficient.
The program starts in May throughout Northeast Mississippi. Residential customers can get up to $500 for boosting their home’s energy efficiency; commercial customers can get $200 for each kilowatt reduction.
Customers first must schedule an energy audit through their local utility provider. Audits cost $150, but the fee is reimbursed if the customers make the recommended energy improvements, said David Sparks of TVA.
“TVA wants to help us save money, which is important to all of our families,” said Mayor Jack Reed Jr., one of several city, council and utility officials at the Church Street school announcement.
Reed led the children in a series of shouts about saving energy before clearing the floor for members of the National Theater for Children.
For 25 minutes, superhero Nikki Neutron battled the energy-wasting villain Lightening Bug in a madcap skit with costume changes, sound effects and plenty of good advice.
Children laughed along with the characters while learning about energy and where it comes from, how energy gets wasted and the easiest ways to save it.
When Nikki Neutron finally encounters her nemesis, it’s the enthusiastic shouts of the children that defeat him as they chant “Open your eyes, be energy wise.”
The performance, which was provided free to the school, also visited Lawhon Elementary and several others in the state before traveling to Alabama.
Children at Church Street seemed impressed.
“It could really teach us something, like a lesson we could remember forever,” said first-grader Sadie Reid. “We should not waste energy. We should conserve it and save it.”

Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or emily.lecoz@djournal.com.