Debbie Ziegler has racked up some impressive stats on the Conservation team.

The true measure of Debbie Ziegler’s career with OUC isn’t hard to figure out. Numbers tell her story in cold, hard facts.

In her nearly eight years with the Conservation team, from May 2013 through February 2021, Ziegler, Conservation Specialist II, has racked up 2,045 “traditional” and 31 “proactive” residential energy audits. (Traditional refers to a customer-requested audit, while proactive means a specialist alerted a customer to an unusual increase in consumption.) She’s also on pace to complete 1,000 residential water audits in record time, which shouldn’t be surprising since she’s led her team in this category in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2019. She set a personal best for combined audits in 2019, with 516 and, in late 2020, helped OUC’s Efficiency Delivered® reach a milestone by enrolling its 1,000th participant. She’s responsible for getting 130 customers to take advantage of the program’s cost-saving benefits for making efficiency upgrades in their homes.

But wait, there’s more.

All those audits yielded big saving for customers – more than a half-million kilowatt hours and four million gallons of water and counting as she nears her last day on the job, May 11, 2021. Ziegler will officially retire in October, ending an 18-year run with OUC.

On the five-member team of Conservation Specialists, she trails only Shawn Spriggs, Conservation Specialist II, in number of audits. He has more than 20 years’ experience.

“Debbie’s work ethic is truly inspiring, and she’s made such a positive impact on many of our customers and employees over her career,” said David Mayer, Supervisor of Sustainability. “Her level of professionalism is known throughout the Commission.”

That it is.

Ziegler has a track record of accomplishments at OUC. She began working here in 2003 as a meter reader and was named Meter Reader of the Year the following two years. In 2004, she read 150,000 meters for a monthly average of 12,500. Readers back then averaged about 10,000 meters a month, said Lemond Embrey, Lead Field Technician (Meter), adding that Ziegler made only four errors in her ’04 readings.

From 2006 until early 2013 she worked as a Customer Service rep in OUC’s call center, a job she credits as an exceptional learning experience. In 2007, the International Customer Service Association awarded Ziegler its highest honor, the Diamond Award.

“I had no experience at all in customer service,” said Ziegler. “But you learn so much about every department because when customers call in they expect you to know everything.”

Ziegler obviously impressed her boss at the time, Team Supervisor Betsy Johnson.

“Debbie is awesome,” Johnson said. “I chose her personally to be a member of the Outage Management Team because I knew she was the right person to share her knowledge, expertise, impeccable work ethic and overall kindness with her co-workers and customers.  . . . She will be truly missed.”

Joining the Conservation team brought Ziegler back to working outdoors, her preferred work environment. It can be dirty, grimy work in tight, dark and damp spaces with the occasional run-in with snakes, rats and other creepy creatures. When she opened an irrigation meter box in January, three rats made a hurried getaway.

“I’m from the Midwest and I grew up around boys,” Ziegler said as a way of explaining her assimilation into a team that has seen only five female Conservation Specialists over the years. “Dirt and sweat don’t phase me. I love Conservation. It’s such a rewarding job to go out and talk to customers and try and help them. It’s a great experience.”