Free energy makeovers coming to Uptown & Methodist Town communities

BY STEVE TRAIMAN Contributor

ST. PETERSBURG — More than 1,200 income-eligible customers in the Uptown and Methodist Town communities will soon receive a free energy makeover from Duke Energy. Through the company’s innovative Neighborhood Energy Saver program, Duke will install up to 16 energy-saving improvements at the homes and apartments of qualified customers.

“Duke Energy is committed to helping our customers better understand and manage their energy use,” said Alex Glenn, Duke Energy State president – Florida. “Through our Neighborhood Energy Saver program, we provide customers the tools to help reduce their energy bills and the information needed to make long-lasting, positive change.”

Melvin Philpot, Duke program manager responsible for this program since 2007, told The Weekly Challenger: “The important thing we learned implementing this program is that it actually gives us residual or additional benefits. The people that we meet in the communities we get a chance to visit, and implement a program like this, chances are would never get an opportunity to learn about energy efficiency – and how to really save money on their bills.”

The Neighborhood Energy Saver program helps income eligible customers living in select census-defined communities. Since the program’s inception in 2006, the company has implemented it in more than 40 communities across the state and installed approximately 380,000 energy-efficiency improvements in more than 20,600 customers’ homes.

The Duke Neighborhood Energy Saver program kickoff is Tues., April 21 from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Dwight Jones Community Center, 1035 Burlington Ave. N. At the event, eligible customers will learn about the program and the energy-efficiency improvements that, when used in conjunction with energy-saving practices, can help save up to $150 a year in energy costs.

In the weeks that follow, Duke Neighborhood Energy Saver team members will install the improvements. Each participant will receive up to 16 energy-efficiency improvements at no cost, including: water heater wraps and insulation for water pipes; low-flow faucet aerator and low-flow showerhead; refrigerator coil brush and refrigerator thermometer; wall plate thermometer; HVAC winterization kit; water heater temperature check and adjustment and HVAC filters and a filter-change calendar.

The company will also educate customers about the behaviors and other factors that contribute to their energy bills. Duke also helps reduce energy loss through the installation of door sweeps, caulking, foam insulation, weather stripping and clear patch tape. In addition, the company provides up to five compact fluorescent light bulbs.

In partnership with the Department of Economic Opportunity’s Weatherization Assistance Program, City of St Petersburg and Pinellas County Urban League, Duke will make energy-efficient improvements in more than 1,200 homes and apartments at no cost to residents in this target area:

From First Avenue North and 16th Street North, north on 16th Street North to Eighth Avenue North, east on Eighth Avenue North to Ninth Street North (MLK), south on Ninth Street North to First Avenue North and west on First Avenue North back to 16th Street North.

Federal and state guidelines and census data are used to objectively select communities where the program would be most beneficial.

The Neighborhood Energy Saver program began as a pilot project in 2006 in St. Petersburg’s Palmetto Park community. The program has been so successful that the company has conducted the outreach in 40 communities statewide, including Clearwater, Eatonville, New Port Richey, several other St. Petersburg neighborhoods and Tarpon Springs earlier this year.

Since 1981, Duke Energy has helped its Florida customers save nearly $1.25 billion through its energy-efficiency programs.

“Energy efficiency is critical to meeting our state’s long-term energy needs,” Glenn emphasized. “It is the quickest, easiest and most environmentally friendly way to reduce energy use.”

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