From left: Debbie Ziegler, OUC Conservation Specialist II, and Stacey Palmer, the 1000th Efficiency Delivered customer
Pine Hills resident Stacey Palmer couldn’t understand why her OUC bills were so high, considering she lived alone, kept the thermostat at 78 when she ran her A/C, and was seldom home. Yet, she was paying nearly $200 in utility costs some months for a house with only 1,075 square feet of living area.
“So I called OUC and they informed me they had a home energy audit program and it might find if there are problems in my house,” said Palmer, referring to Efficiency Delivered®, OUC’s homeowner-focused conservation initiative. The program is one of 16 OUC offers as part of a commitment to achieve a 1% goal of conservation as a percent of retail sales in 2020.
Palmer’s phone call led to her recently becoming OUC’s 1000th Efficiency Delivered® participant, a milestone for the 9-year-old program. Altogether, the program has yielded $1,070,000 in efficiency upgrades to single-family homes, with OUC picking up $750,000 of the costs under provisions for low-income customers like Palmer, a restaurant worker at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.
Debbie Ziegler, OUC Conservation Specialist II, performed the free audit of Palmer’s home, conducting an outside inspection and reviewing energy and water usage records. As a COVID-19 safety precaution, Conservation team members do not enter homes to perform audits, relying instead on our preferred contractor to identify interior efficiency issues.
Ferran Services, the program’s preferred contactor, installed window film, caulked windows, applied weather stripping and door sweeps, performed a 12-point A/C maintenance and replaced a toilet. Ferran completed the work on Sept. 30, 2020. The total cost of the home improvement project came to $1,337.
But Palmer qualified for Efficiency Delivered’s support for households with incomes of less than $40,000 a year, with OUC paying for 85% of eligible upgrades ($1,136.45 in her case) costing up to $2,500.
Meanwhile, households with annual incomes of $40,001-$60,000 are eligible for a 50-50 cost-sharing split while households with incomes greater than $60,000 a year can take advantage of the rebates OUC offers. Customers in these income tiers may qualify for a 12-month installment payment plan, contingent upon their payment history. To date, 80% of Efficiency Delivered® participants had a household income of less than $60,000 per year while 67% had a household income of less than $40,000 per year.
Palmer’s first OUC bill since the upgrades were completed bear witness to the efficacy of some fairly inexpensive improvements, such as weather stripping and caulking windows, and an A/C tune-up, a new addition to the program. Her bill for Oct. 6-Nov. 6 came in at $109.65, including $16.72 as her Efficiency Delivered® payment. Her bill for the same period last year totaled $194.11. With an average savings of 10%-15% on their monthly OUC bills, Efficiency Delivered® participants usually see immediate savings, sometimes exceeding their monthly installment payments.
“One of her bills was for $378 last year,” said Ziegler, explaining that a poorly maintained A/C unit and air leaks around windows and doors were likely to blame for high power bills. “It’s a great feeling to be able to help a homeowner like Stacey save money.”
Palmer was relieved when she opened her latest OUC bill, saying, “Debbie was so helpful. She got me into the program and the contractor did a great job. I’m so glad to see my electric bill go down.”
If you own a home and interested in participating, call 407.423.9018 to get started.
Efficiency Delivered® provides the following money-saving home improvements:
- A/C tune-up
- Air filter replacement
- Attic insulation
- Attic pull down stair ladder cover
- Blower door testing
- Caulking and weather stripping
- Choice of thermostat replacement
- Duct leak repairs
- Evaporator coil cleaning
- Hot water pipe & A/C refrigerant line insulation
- Irrigation repairs
- Minor plumbing repairs
- Toilet replacement
- Water flow restrictors
- WaterSense labeled irrigation controller*
- Window film installation