03/12/09 — Community getting tips on cutting back electricity bills

View Archive

Community getting tips on cutting back electricity bills

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on March 12, 2009 1:46 PM

News-Argus Video Report

Full Size


Pikeville Town Clerk Michelle Singleton and ElectriCities representative Cameron Henley look over a power-saving kit distributed to town homes on Wednesday afternoon by Pikeville employees.

PIKEVILLE -- Leigh Ann and Doug Wyckoff are tired of seeing $270 bills come in the mail every month for their mobile home in Pikeville, mostly for electricity provided by ElectriCities.

But town employees are hoping a new and free outreach program -- called Day of Caring -- will help residents to conserve electricity and to bring their bills down.

The Wyckoffs' residence was just one of several that Town Clerk Michelle Singleton and ElectriCities representative Cameron Henley stopped by Wednesday.

"We're here to spark people thinking about conserving energy," Henley said. "On days like today, when the weather is 80 degrees, people forget about having to use electricity. They just open the windows. But on days when it is really hot or cold, they think about it more."

The day also was an opportunity for town employees to show residents that they take their complaints about high electric bills seriously and that they care.

"This is important to us," Mrs. Singleton said. "We just want to make people aware (of what energy they are using)."

The two were there to give residents an energy conservation box, filled with a few fluorescent light bulbs, a refrigerator cooling gauge, a hot water temperature gauge, light switch insulators and a filter whistle -- a two-piece device that snaps around the filter that will whistle when it gets dirty.

"Changing filters is just something that we don't think about. I'm guilty of it, too. This is an easy way for people to know when to change it," Henley said.

He walked through every item in the box with the Wyckoffs and other residents, showing them how to use or install each piece, and telling them ways to cut down on their electricity use, such as moving the temperature of their refrigerators up or turning down the temperature of their water.

"Some people have their water temperatures around 150 degrees. The temperature should really be between 120 degrees and 130 degrees," he said.

And he also answered any questions the residents had on energy conservation.

"I have a question about water heaters," Wyckoff said. "I've talked to people, and it seems like the people that have hotter water, their electric bill is less. Maybe it has something to do with them using more cold water when they take a shower since the water is so hot."

"It's all about usage," Henley said. "It's about if you can control your usage (of hot water)."

Mrs. Wyckoff had a question about conserving energy with a ceiling fan.

"It is better to turn on the fan than to turn on the air conditioning," Henley said.

Mrs. Singleton also gave residents a few energy conservation tips.

"Five-minute showers. I know it's a little harder for women ... but that's what you should aim for," she said.

The two ended their hour-long sessions at each homeowner's house by asking them to "tell your neighbors."

"Spread the word," Mrs. Singleton said.

For Pikeville, the next step will be on April 8 and 9 -- and possibly June 1-3 -- when Mrs. Singleton and another representative from ElectriCities will be visiting residents to do a more in-depth assessment of their energy efficiency, where the ElectriCities representative will check duct work and insulation to make sure that the electricity the residents pay hundreds for isn't leaking out the door.

"We just want people to get the word out," Mrs. Singleton said. "We want to help."

Any Pikeville residents that wish to participate in the free energy audit with ElectriCities in April or June can call Mrs. Singleton at 242-5126 to set up an appointment.