11/07/10 — Low-income residents will get energy-saving advice from company

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Low-income residents will get energy-saving advice from company

By Catharin Shepard
Published in News on November 7, 2010 1:50 AM

More than 1,700 low-income Wayne County residents will receive a free home energy efficiency upgrade, thanks to a community partnership with Progress Energy.

Progress Energy Carolinas created the Neighbor-hood Energy Saver low-income energy efficiency program to help customers keep their energy bills low this winter and into the future.

That takes a two-part effort - conserving energy and making a home operate more efficiently, Progress Energy Regional Vice President Bob McCall said.

To help people with limited incomes save on their power bill, the Neighborhood Energy Saver program will first teach residents about responsible energy use, and then will get hands-on in upgrade their homes to be more energy efficient.

Beginning this week, residents of some Goldsboro neighborhoods may see signs posted in their yards, or receive doorknob hangers informing them that the Neighborhood Energy Saver program will be stopping by soon.

Workers with the program will perform a series of home improvement tasks free of charge, such as changing heating and air conditioning unit air filters, installing low-flow shower heads, installing weather stripping on front and back doors, adjusting water heaters to 120 degrees and other energy-saving measures like covering window air conditioning units and caulking drafty windows.

All of the tasks will be small and painless ways of conserving energy that will subtract from a customer's power bill over the course of a year, McCall said.

The group will also install a thermometer to help residents monitor the temperature in their home and show them how to keep their thermostat at an optimum setting.

Workers will even replace up to 10 traditional light bulbs in a home with spiral-type fluorescent bulbs, free of charge.

The Neighborhood Energy Saver initiative does not conflict with other Progress Energy programs, so even if a person or family is already receiving assistance from Progress Energy, they can still benefit from both, he said.

Space heating accounts for the greatest portion of a typical electricity bill, almost a third of the cost of a household's electricity use, according to Progress Energy officials. Other appliances like a washer and dryer, dishwasher and television make up about 27 percent, while a water heater alone is about 15 percent of a home's energy use.

The company is partnering with the city of Goldsboro, Goldsboro Hous-ing Authority, WAGES, Habitat for Humanity, the N.C. weatherization program and the Department of Social Services. Progress Energy is also working with Honeywell to provide and install the home upgrades.

The energy conservation upgrade takes about 45 minutes to an hour to complete at each home. The company estimated it will take about three months for workers to make their way through all of the Goldsboro neighborhoods listed for the program.

Residents eligible for the program should have received a letter informing them of their possible eligibility. For more ways to lower a high energy bill, the company also offers tips at its web site, Save The Watts.

Goldsboro Mayor Al King thanked the Progress Energy team for turning out to assist Goldsboro residents.