Is this Kelly's fabric?

24 June 2009

Phase III of Energy Efficiency Program.

Well, we’ve been “weatherized” and now all we can do is wait and see if the electric bills get lower!

So, here’s the story on this, as I understand it.

In an ongoing attempt to be more energy efficient, the state of Texas has adopted plans and put programs in place, some of which can directly benefit savvy homeowners.  The flyer we initially received called it “a government mandated Energy Conservation Program.”

 In March 2000, the Utility Commission adopted the Energy Efficiency Rule 25.181 and Senate Bill Number 7, to promote energy efficiency. ( I looked these up, by the way, and Rule 25.181 seems to be so-named because it is 181 pages long!)

In 2001, The Residential and Small Commercial Standard Offer Program was developed for energy services to provide energy-efficiency services “to achieve cost-effective reduction in peak summer and winter months.”  It is designed to help conserve energy and at the same time promote awareness of the different things you can do to a home to make it more energy efficient.

Initially, these services were paid for via a special fee added to our electric bills.  Since then (I’m unclear on exactly when the change occurred) that has been revamped a bit, and instead of an extra fee being charged, the cost of this program was rolled into our cost per kilowat hour.  So, on the average, we all pay about 92 cents a month toward this program.  As a result, 90 percent of customers pay $0 to receive the benefits of the program.

The program is geared toward homes that are 100 percent electric.  Those with gas and electric may be eligible for some of the aspects of the program, at a higher cost.  But, even so, it might be worth looking into.

The idea is that a family living in a little house like ours (less than 1400 square feet) should not be paying higher electric bills than those in much larger, but newer, more efficient homes.  So, there’s a laundry list of potential small home repairs that smart hvac and insulation professionals are willing to do at no cost to the consumer, because they can bill to this program and get paid.  I’m not sure what the connection is, but the Encore Energy folks seem to be behind the money on this.

In our case, we received a yellow flyer on our front door from Brandon, of AAA Efficiency.  He is a small businessman serving the entire metroplex, and it is he himself who came to our house today.  It was his brother-in-law who came on Monday to do our initial assessment. Brandon’s number is 817.401.1132.  Times are tough for everyone, and if we can get our electric bill to be more affordable, and put money into the pocket of a local small businessman, I’m all for it!

Our guys do not do windows, so in that regard, we know we are still less than energy efficient—we still have the original aluminum frame, single pane windows that all builders used to cut corners in the seventies.  But, today’s weatherization process involved a rather lengthy process of sealing off air intake returns, and hvac vents, insulating the indoor unit itself (although we didn’t require that work on our unit that’s only five or six years old), sealing off under-sink outer wall where plumbing enters the house, and pressurizing the house to be sure nothing is missed.  I also got the friendly, forehead-thumping reminder that the fireplace flue should be closed when not in use.  (insert eye rolling, here.  I cannot believe I had forgotten that.) And, all this today was at no charge to us.

So, there you have it.  If you live in an all-electric home built pre 1990 or so, I’d say you should give this guy a call, or look into who else in your area might be a a part of this program.   And hopefully, we’ll all save a few pennies on our future electric bills.  I’ll try to remember to report back on this with the next bill we receive.

I’d love to hear if anyone else out there has already participated in this, or chooses to, having read about it here on the KRUMB.

My photo today is of a piece of fabric currently in residence in my workshop.  Pretty, but I don’t think it’s mine!  Kelly, is this yours?

~MB