TVA is offering customers of its 156 member electric utilities several programs to learn about and implement ways to save energy and money.
“We’re kicking off four energy-efficiency programs,” David Sparks, TVA Mississippi delivery manager, said at an announcement in Oxford on Monday morning that was duplicated in other cities around the seven-state TVA region, including Tupelo and Columbus.
“We know that over time we’ll have to build capacity,” he said, “but energy efficiency is actually the cheapest way to make sure we can provide services.”
Saving energy on summer afternoons
Especially valuable are conservation measures for hot summer afternoons, when peak usage can make wholesale prices spike to several times their non-peak rate.
“When we are in a situation where we run low on power, if we can conserve it, we don’t have to go buy power on the open market at high rates,” Sparks said. “That keeps pressure down on rates … brings in new industry because the rates are affordable, and then, long term, that means more jobs for the local economy.”
The first of the four programs is an online energy audit for homeowners at www.energyright.com. TVA will send those who complete it a starter kit with two compact fluorescent light bulbs, low-flow water valves and insulators for outdoor outlets and light switches.
The second program is an in-home energy analysis conducted by a trained evaluator. The $150 fee for the service is refunded after the homeowner makes improvements of that cost or more, and TVA will pay 50 percent of the first $1,000 in further recommended upgrades.
Tupelo Mayor Jack Reed Jr. said homeowners shouldn’t be turned off by the initial audit cost. That amount will be more than made up down the road.
“The bigger payoff comes over the long term from the energy savings,” he said.
TVA also is re-emphasizing its Green Power Switch program. In it, customers of member utilities voluntarily pay in $4 increments to support solar-, wind- and methane-generated electricity.
Commercial and small industrial customers are eligible for partial cost rebates for replacing some electric equipment with more efficient models. Custom incentives for other upgrades pay five cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity saved in the first year of use.
North East Mississippi Electric Power Association President Bob Collier said his cooperative is one of the effort’s leaders. He noted that smart meters deployed to all member accounts offer new ways to conserve energy and is the only Mississippi utility in TVA’s “smart grid” pilot program.
Oxford Mayor Pat Patterson noted the city’s beneficial relationship with TVA, including President Barack Obama’s recent nomination of former Mayor Richard Howorth to the agency’s board of directors.
“TVA has provided not only power to our area but economic development and recreational opportunities … which to our way of thinking is government at its best,” Patterson said.
Contact Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or email@example.com.