May 6, 2017

Report Reveals Need for French Broad EMC Energy Efficiency Program

Appalachian Voices released a report this week revealing that thousands of homes served by French Broad Electric Membership Corp. struggle with high energy bills and need help paying for home energy efficiency improvements. The report estimates that addressing that need through an inclusive Pay As You Save® on-bill financing program would save French Broad members $1,000 or more per home over ten years, and more than $500 a year after that, while investing millions of dollars in local economies and creating new jobs. AND, people wouldn’t have to wear their sweaters indoors in the winter anymore. Read the report and check out the article in the Yancey Common Times Journal.

What Does Energy Efficiency Have to Do with Coal Ash?

It’s a solution! Energy efficiency improvements can reduce pollution from power plants, like coal ash, by lowering fossil fuel use. A video made for Duke University’s Winter Forum shares stories about the impacts of coal ash and high energy costs on North Carolina families. Energy efficiency financing programs, like Roanoke EMC’s Upgrade to $ave, are presented as a way to address those issues. The 2017 forum had the theme “Power to the People: Tackling Energy Inequality through Clean Energy Solutions.” Watch the video and learn more about energy solutions!

The Force is Strong with this One: Energy Efficiency Potential across the Nation

Energy efficiency upgrades for single-family homes have the potential to save 245 terawatt hours of energy per year, according to a report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. That represents about 22% of the electricity used by single-family households in the U.S in 2014! Central and southern Appalachian states rank high in efficiency potential. In particular, North Carolina and Kentucky could save up to 30% of single-family residential electricity use through cost-effective efficiency upgrades. See the entire report. Photo: NREL/DOE

What We’re Reading

PAYS Tariff Approved for Second Arkansas Co-op
Ouachita Electric Cooperative was the first in Arkansas to offer on-bill financing for energy efficiency improvements to its members, but a second co-op may soon join in. South Central Arkansas Electric Cooperative recently filed with the state Public Service Commission for approval to develop a Pay As You Save® on-bill financing program, similar to Ouachita’s HELP PAYS® program. Read about how HELP PAYS® is already helping families with their energy costs.

NC Voters Support Clean Energy
A poll conducted by Conservatives for Clean Energy found broad bipartisan support among North Carolina voters for renewable energy and energy efficiency. The results show that almost 89% of voters polled would be more likely to support a politician in favor of legislation that would make energy efficiency upgrades more accessible. Read more about the poll results.

Tennessee to Allow Co-ops to Provide Broadband
In April, the Tennessee legislature passed the 2017 Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act, which will provide $45 million in grants and tax credits to private companies like AT&T and Charter in order to subsidize the buildout of rural fiber networks. Rural electric cooperatives will also be eligible to receive grant money to provide broadband services, though they must allow private companies to use their lines and poles. Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association’s general manager and executive vice president, David Callis, said, "Access to high-speed internet has the potential to shape the future of rural Tennessee." Find out more.

Tips and Resources

Monthly Energy Efficiency Tip!
heating_cooling_tip

Spring is in full swing and so is the temperature. Resist the urge to fiddle with your thermostat every time the temperature drops or rises by leaving the air conditioning set to 78° when you’re home. Setting the thermostat lower doesn’t cool your home faster–it just costs you money. For extra savings, use a programmable thermostat to set the temperature higher during the day when no one is home. Photo: U.S. Air Force/Airman 1st Class Katie Gieratz

Do you have an energy tip to share? Please email katie.kienbaum@appvoices.org to submit your tip!

Events

Southwest Virginia Solar Fair
Learn about solar energy while having fun with friends and family for free at the SWVA Solar Fair. The fair is May 9 from 5-7pm at the David J. Prior Convocation Center on the UVa-Wise campus. Contact Lydia Graves at lydia@appvoices.org for more information.

Southwest Virginia Economic Forum
Attend the SWVA Economic Forum to learn about the effort to revitalize the region! The forum will be held May 10 at the David J. Prior Convocation Center on the UVa-Wise campus. Register online or at the event.

WAYS TO GET INVOLVED

  1. Forward this email to 5 friends
  2. Take Action: Sign a letter to your cooperative supporting energy efficiency
  3. Live in western N.C.? Host a free workshop at your church or local community group -- contact katie.kienbaum@appvoices.org to set one up!
  4. Send a letter to your local newspapers expressing your support for home energy efficiency. Contact lauren@appvoices.org to get some tips.
  5. Have you already made significant energy efficiency improvements? Share your story to help others see how they can experience the same benefits. Contact lauren@appvoices.org to learn how.


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