October 7, 2017

Energy Waste Burdens Southeastern Families

Gerlene and Ronald Wilmoth of Tazewell, Tenn., always paid their electric bill on time. That is, until Ronald suffered a stroke that left him unable to work, and Gerlene had to quit her job to take care of her husband. The couple’s monthly income was reduced to just $400 to cover all expenses, including electric bills that were over $200, a result of their inefficient home. Many families across the Southeast struggle similarly with high energy bills, sometimes spending more than 30% of their income on energy costs. Read the rest of the Wilmoths’ story.

This Co-op Found a Solution to High Energy Bills

Ouachita Electric Cooperative in Arkansas has found a way to tackle energy waste and save its members money with an innovative financing program called HELP PAYS (Pay as You SaveⓇ). One participating co-op member, Linda Hodges, was able to lower her July electric bill from $600 in 2016 to only $310 in 2017! Eleven other co-ops in the Southeast have implemented similar programs. Find out how this program is helping co-op members like Linda make energy-saving improvements to their homes.

Welcome to Our Team!

Our North Carolina Energy Savings team is welcoming Becca Bauer, a recent graduate from Appalachian State University with a B.S. in sustainable development and a minor in appropriate technology, as our new AmeriCorps Outreach Associate. Previously, Becca was an intern for Appalachian Voices’ North Carolina campaign. She is excited to return, this time working to make energy efficiency more accessible throughout western North Carolina. Learn more about Becca and the rest of our hard-working staff.

Identifying Energy Waste—There’s an App for That

Want to improve your home’s energy efficiency but aren’t sure where to start? Ecologic, a start-up from Sydney, Australia, is here to help by making it easier and cheaper to assess your home’s performance. Their web and mobile app helps users find opportunities to save energy in their own home and create personalized action plans. A professional energy audit is still the best way to locate those hard-to-find leaks, but this app is a good place to start. Visit the Ecologic website to sign up for FREE!

Energy News Roundup

Trump Nominates TVA Board Directors
President Trump announced his nominations for the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority, the largest public utility in the country. Nominees include a retired coal company executive and a deputy director at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a federal science and energy lab. Find out who the nominees are.

After Disaster, Rebuilding a Cleaner Energy System
From Texas to Florida to Puerto Rico, the recent hurricanes underscore the importance of developing sustainable, resilient energy systems. The process of rebuilding also offers a unique opportunity to incorporate clean energy, like renewables and energy efficiency, into our electrical grid. Discover what other countries have done to rebuild their power grids and what we could do here.

Tribe Funds Energy Assistance with Solar Farm
At Leech Lake Reservation in Minnesota, the revenue from newly installed solar panels will be used to supplement the federal program that provides energy bill assistance for low-income households. This project, a partnership between the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance, joins other efforts at the reservation to increase sustainability. Read more about the program!

Tips and Resources

Monthly Energy Savings Tip!

Are energy vampires sucking your wallet dry? Vampire devices, or phantom loads, are electronics that continue to draw electricity even when turned off or not in use. Common culprits include video game consoles, laptop chargers, and other devices that have power bricks and wall warts. Unplug electronics when you aren’t using them to lower your electric bill by as much as 10%. You can even try plugging multiple devices into a single power strip to make shut down as easy as flipping a switch! Learn about other ways to slay energy vampires.

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


Mars Hill Energy Workshop
Learn about ways you can save energy and money at home. Appalachian Voices and others will be presenting on energy efficiency, solar and caring for creation. Tuesday, October 10, 7:00-8:30 pm @ Mars Hill United Methodist Church, Mars Hill, NC. See the rest of the details!

Savings in the House Workshop
The City of Knoxville invites you to its monthly, hands-on energy efficiency workshop. Wednesday, October 11, 12pm @ CAC Housing & Energy Services, Knoxville, TN. Learn more!

Appalachian Public Interest Environmental Law Conference
The APIEL conference brings together grassroots organizations, lawyers, and future policy-makers for workshops, including one presented by Appalachian Voices, that address the region's most pressing ecological problems and the underlying laws that have affected these issues. October 20-22 @ University of Tennessee College of Law, Knoxville, TN. Register now!


  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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