Coast Electric shares energy saving tips
Published 7:00 am Saturday, June 4, 2016
In an effort to educate their members on how to lower their energy costs, Coast Electric Power Association hosts an annual energy fair.
Friday, officials with Touchstone Energy Cooperative, held informational conversations with their members at the Picayune location on Highway 11 North.
“We feel obligated to offer the most reliable service at the lowest cost possible,” Coast Electric Senior Residential Energy Representative for the Pearl River County District Scott White said. “Providing education for our members about how to reduce the costs makes a more satisfied customer. It also cuts back on the use of natural resources like coal and gas. It reduces peak demand on our system.”
One of the booths members visited during the energy fair provided information about Coast Electric’s Time-of-Use rate plan, which is based on the time of day members use electricity and the cost of supplying electricity during that time of day, program literature states.
During the summer, which entails the months, April – October, the peak, or high demand period, times of usage are between 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, White said. During the winter, or months of November-March, the peak times are 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. Monday through Friday. On-peak usage costs more than the standard rate.
During the off-peak hours, which are all other times including Saturday and Sunday, a member’s rate will be lower than the standard rate. Off-peak holidays include Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. By avoiding peak hours, White said members could save more money.
“Seventeen-thousand of our members currently use this program,” White said. “For me personally, in my own home, I save about $336 a year. Savings will vary from one member to the next.”
Next to the rate of time-of-use table, members got a chance to view different types of light bulbs and wattages.
A 40-watt incandescent light bulb uses 39.5 watts. They also put off a lot of heat, White said. This adds heat to the home making the air conditioner run longer.
A compact fluorescent light bulb of the same rating uses 10.2 watts while a LED bulb capable of the same lighting quality uses 7.1 watts, White said. The lifespan of an LED bulb is longer than the other two bulbs, he added.
White said they recommend both the fluorescent and LED bulbs to members. The retail cost for an incandescent bulb is about $1 while the cost of an LED bulb starts at about $3.50 a bulb.
“However, the LED bulbs last longer and use less wattage, which saves members money,” he said. “If your compact fluorescent bulbs are working, then you are still saving energy and we recommend members leave those in and replace them with LED when they burn out.”
Next up, members learned how to properly insulate their home to potentially save money on their energy bills. Spray foam insulation is one of the most effective insulation methods, White said.
They also recommend that all windows in the home be marked with the Energy Star rating, White said.
“Double pane windows with a vinyl frame and tint can reduce the heating radiation, thereby lowering the run time of the AC,” White said.
Another program Coast Electric offers its members is the Co-op Connections card. It’s available at no cost to members who don’t have health insurance, White said. The program offers discounts on prescriptions, vision, labs and imaging and hearing aids, White said. Members can save anywhere from 10-60 percent off prescriptions. There are also discounts available at some local businesses, he added.
The SurgeHelp program is a protection plan that protects a homeowner’s electronic devices that could be made unusable by a lightning strike. Protection plans start at $4.95 to $12.95 per month.
The Comfort Advantage is an incentive program for new home construction, White said. Coast Electric provides a “recipe” for an energy efficient home, he added.
“We offer $300 to $500 in incentives for building to our standards for a more energy efficient home,” he said.
The Share your Blessings program gives members an opportunity to help those in need, White said.
Members can choose to round their energy bill up to the next dollar amount, he said. The extra change is sent to the United Way of South Mississippi who sends the funds to Catholic Social Services who disburse the funds to qualifying Coast Electric members who need assistance, White said.
Learn more about Coast Electric and their programs at www.coastepa.com.