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Spread out your monthly electric payments with AEP Ohio’s Average Monthly Payment Plan

AMP photo

Did you know you can average out your monthly payments over the whole year?

AEP Ohio’s Average Monthly Payment (AMP) Plan helps customers manage their electric bills through a more consistent monthly payment based on actual electricity used.

“The AMP Plan makes it easier for customers to budget their money because they will know, within a few dollars, what they need to set aside for their electricity payment each month,” said Karen Sloneker, AEP Ohio director of Customer Services and Marketing. “It helps minimize seasonal spikes associated with summer cooling and winter heating by spreading out electric payments over the whole year.”

How the AMP Plan works

With the AMP Plan, monthly payments are based on a rolling 12-month average of the customer’s billed amount. Each month, the oldest bill is removed from the average and the current month’s bill is added. As a result, the payment amount will fluctuate slightly from month to month.

This is not an equal monthly payment plan like the Budget Plan. AMP customers do not have a settle-up month at year-end as they do with the Budget Plan. A reconciliation only occurs when the customer stops participating in the plan.

                         AMP Plan                Budget Plan
Monthly payments fluctuate slightly Monthly payments are the same
No settle-up month at year-end Reconciliation occurs at year-end

New AEP Ohio customers also can enroll. In this case, the initial monthly amount is based on the previous customer’s use and will self-adjust over the following months.

To enroll in the plan, customers can call the Customer Operations Center at 800-672-2231. Additional information is available at aepohio.com/levelpay.

Energy-Saving DIY Projects

energysaverdotgovSpring has finally sprung in Ohio! Now is an ideal time to launch do-it-yourself projects (DIY) that could help you save energy and money.

Here are some of our favorite DIY projects that conserve energy and put money back into your wallet:

1)Landscape for Shade

  • WHY: Solar heat penetrating into the home can increase cooling costs and proper landscaping can reduce the direct solar heat.
  • HOW:
    • Planting various trees and shrubs throughout your yard can help reduce the direct sunlight coming into the home.
    • If you want to block the sun in the summer, but let it in during the winter consider trees that lose their leaves seasonally.
    • If you want to have constant shade consider dense evergreens.

2)Spring Cleaning

  • WHY: Cleaning around the house is not just for sanitation, but can also help save energy and money.
  • HOW:
    • Dust off the ceiling fan, because you will want to use it! Turning on your ceiling fans can allow you to raise your thermostat by four degrees.
    • Clean off your air conditioner’s evaporator coil, which allows it to perform at optimal levels saving you on your cooling bill.
    • Peaked behind the refrigerator lately? If your refrigerator coils are covered in dust they cannot release heat, which causes the appliance to kick into overdrive and hike up your electric bill.

3)Frosted Windows

  • WHY: This DIY project will not only increase privacy, but can help a room stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter by reducing radiant heat transfer through the glass by as much as 50 percent.
  • HOW:
    • Find a stencil with a pattern you like. A good place to start your search is Pinterest.
    • Measure out the window to determine how much contact paper you will need.
    • Use the stencil to create the design on contact paper.
    • Peel off the back and stick contact paper to desired window space.

For more information on how to complete these DIY projects and others, check out: http://energy.gov/energysaver/blog.

Have some of your own DIY hacks for saving energy and money? Share your tips in the comments below!

 

AEP Ohio introduces new Prepaid Visa Refund Program for residential customers

AEP_aVisa_mockupStarting April 20, AEP Ohio is changing the way the company disburses refunds for residential customers. Through a partnership with Citibank, residential customers who have a refund balance will be mailed a prepaid Visa card.

The new Prepaid Visa Refund program will benefit customers by offering:

  • Quicker access to refund money
  • Flexibility to choose a preferred method of refund

“We are pleased to be able to offer our customers a quicker, more convenient way to receive their refunds,” said Gary Spitznogle, AEP Ohio vice president of Regulatory and Finance. “This is another step in enhancing our interactions with our customers and exceeding customer expectations.”

Customers who do not want to use the Visa card can call Citibank and request a check be sent to them instead. Or, customers can opt to have the funds transferred instantly to a checking or savings account. Customers also can call Citibank or use online apps to check card balances, allowing customers hassle-free use of their cards.

Customers with limited access to banking services will not have to pay a check-cashing fee or wait to receive funds as they often do when receiving a refund check.

For questions about the new refund program, call the Customer Solutions Center at 800-672-2231, or visit https://aepohio.com/account/service/SecurityDeposits.aspx#refunds for more information.

Surge protection now available for customers as part of AEP Ohio’s Home Warranty Program

Surge lighting with house

Beginning in early March, AEP Ohio will offer residential customers who rent the option of obtaining protection to repair or replace electrical products damaged due to power surges. This new coverage is one of several service plans offered by the company’s home warranty program announced last May, through its partnership with HomeServe USA, a third-party home repair service provider.

The roll out will be conducted in phases, first to rental customers, and then expanded to include homeowners later this year.

“We are pleased to be able to offer rental customers Electrical Surge Coverage, an optional program that can help repair or replace electronics such as computers, televisions, tablets and other consumer appliances that are damaged as a result of an electrical surge,” said Karen Sloneker, director of customer services and marketing – AEP Ohio. “Should this equipment be damaged, the cost to repair or replace them can be expensive. We are happy to be able to offer this program first to renters, and look forward to expanding the program to include homeowners later this year.”

The Electrical Surge Coverage costs about $6.00 a month and will be added to the customer’s monthly electric bill. Customers may cancel the warranty coverage at any time.

With this optional protection provided by HomeServe, AEP Ohio customers will get:

  • Up to $3,000 in coverage annually (30-day waiting period with a money-back guarantee for covered repairs)
  • 24-hour repair hotline
  • Priority repair status
  • Multiple service calls per year, up to customer’s annual benefit amount
  • Repairs performed by local, certified electricians
  • One-year guarantee on all covered repairs

The program covers electrical products with a value of more than $100. Electrical products that cannot be repaired will be replaced with a product that is similar in kind and quality.

HomeServe will began mailing introductory postcards to rental customers on today, followed by enrollment letters beginning March 10.

For more information on Electrical Surge Coverage, visit AEPOhio.com/SurgeProtection.

Valley Converting Co. awarded $20,772.74 in incentives for energy efficiency measures

AEP Ohio awards Valley Converting Co. with an incentive check for its participation in the Continuous Energy Improvement program. Pictured here from left to right are Rich Brandt, plant manager’ Mike Biasi, president; Tracie Campbell,  AEP Ohio energy efficiency marketing coordinator and Fred Rogers, AEP Ohio customer service engineer.

AEP Ohio awards Valley Converting Co. with an incentive check for its participation in the Continuous Energy Improvement program. Pictured here from left to right are Rich Brandt, plant manager’ Mike Biasi, president; Tracie Campbell, AEP Ohio energy efficiency marketing coordinator and Fred Rogers, AEP Ohio customer service engineer.

Yesterday, we awarded Valley Converting Co. a check for $20,772.74 for its participation in our Continuous Energy Improvement (CEI) program. The program helps businesses identify and implement low cost/no cost measures and provides incentives to qualifying participants.

In 2014, Valley Converting, a manufacturer and converter of recycled paperboard based in Toronto, Ohio, completed a year-long project to reduce energy use and save money utilizing low cost/no cost measures. The measures implemented will save Valley Converting approximately 1,038,637 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year and an estimated savings of more than $20,000 in energy costs each year.

Through the CEI Program, Valley Converting was able to identify a key energy saving measure – tuning the vacuum porting water removal pumps in the drying process – which resulted in the removal of a 200 HP motor and other periphery equipment that reduced electricity by approximately 100,000 kWh each month without impacting production.

“Valley Converting has always promoted a culture of sustainability through a strong connection to the local community and by emphasizing reuse and recycling efforts,” stated President Mike Biasi.

“The CEI program is ideal to engage the entire customer facility.  It also is an unparalleled tool to completely revamp industrial energy use. The low cost/no cost measures are achievable and drive energy understanding so eventually capital improvements follow,” said Michelle Cross, AEP Ohio CEI Program Manager. 

Since 2009, AEP Ohio has helped customers reduce power usage by 1,697 gigawatt-hours (GWh), saving more than $1 billion. AEP Ohio offers a variety of energy efficiency programs and discounts to help business and residential customers to stop wasting energy and start saving money. For more information, visit AEPOhio.com/Solutions (business) or AEPOhio.com/WasteLess (residents).

Commit to Energy Efficiency in 2015

A new year means a new you, right?

new years resolutionMost people promise themselves that they will start eating healthier, or that they will actually use the gym membership they’ve been paying for. Here at AEP Ohio, we want to challenge you to make a commitment that you’ll want to see through because it saves you money. Follow these three small steps to commit to energy efficiency in 2015.

1.  Power down and unplug

Ever get into the habit of keeping the coffee pot plugged in after you leave for work? Or what about keeping your computer on all day, even when you aren’t using it? One quick and easy way to cut back on energy and ultimately save money is by turning off and unplugging appliances and other items that you are not using. According to Energy.gov, leaving a computer on all day can cost 21 cents per day, which totals over $75/year.

Bonus: Challenge yourself to turn off all the lights before you leave and unplug any items that do not need to stay plugged in. For every day that you accomplish it, set aside a dollar and at the end of the year reward yourself with a gift.

2.  Schedule an In-home Energy Assessment

You know all those things you said you were going to do in 2014, but never got around to? Now is the perfect time to get an in-home energy assessment. During the assessment, a certified energy auditor will install several free energy-saving items that will provide immediate energy savings once in place. Plus, the auditor will provide you with recommendations on improvements to make your home more comfortable and efficient.

3.  Give yourself the gift of a new energy-efficient appliance.

What better way to start off the New Year than with a gift to yourself that will save you money? When buying a new appliance, first make sure to check out the energy guide label on the appliance. By reviewing the label, you can get an idea of what your new appliance will cost you per year in operating costs and electricity use. You can also check out our previous blog post about how to choose the best energy efficient appliances.

As with any New Year’s resolution, start by slowly changing your habits. For example, if you like to fall asleep with the TV on try to only leave it on for three nights of the week, rather than all five. Also, if you slip up it’s okay you can try again. Make sure to set your goals clearly and take small steps to reach them.

For more ways to save, check out AEPOhio.com/WasteLess.

AEP Ohio Donates ENERGY STAR CFL Bulbs to Mid-Ohio Foodbank

mid ohio food bankThis winter struggling Ohioans from across the state will receive energy efficient bulbs to help reduce energy use and costs, freeing up their limited resources for life’s other necessities.

For the third year in a row, AEP Ohio is proud to donate over 200,000 ENERGY STAR® certified compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs to the Mid-Ohio Foodbank in Columbus, Ohio.

 FL bulbs use about 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs, which can save about $50 or more in electricity costs over the course of each bulb’s lifetime.

This year an Ohio distributor, MegaLight, supplied the CFL bulbs. The company provides a full range of energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly lighting products primarily designed for the North American market.

“We are honored to partner with MegaLight to give out energy efficient bulbs this winter,” David Tabata, AEP Ohio EE Consumer Manager said. “These bulbs are one more way we can help people in need save on energy.”

AEP Ohio’s longstanding partnership with Mid-Ohio Foodbank affords the electric company the opportunity to distribute CFL bulbs to low-income Ohioans in eight counties throughout the state.

The donation is part of AEP Ohio’s Efficient Products Program, offering customers discounted CFLs through participating retailers to help people reduce wasted energy, save money and protect the environment.

“The Foodbank’s long standing partnership with AEP Ohio has gone a long way in connecting nutritious food to our hungry neighbors,” said Matt Habash, president and CEO of Mid-Ohio Foodbank. “The CFL bulb donation allows our neighbors, struggling to make ends meet, to focus their resources on accessing nourishing food instead of purchasing these much-needed household items.”

Low-income residential customers are also eligible for the installation of a wide range of higher efficiency, cost-effective lighting, appliances, heating and cooling equipment, weatherization upgrades and other electrical safety measures. For more information about this program, customers can call AEP Ohio at 1-800-545-4112.

Since 2009, AEP Ohio has helped customers reduce power usage by 2,171.75 gigawatt-hours, saving more than $1 billion. AEP Ohio offers a variety of energy efficiency programs and discounts to help residential and business customers to stop wasting energy and start saving money. For more information, visit AEPOhio.com/WasteLess (residential) or AEPOhio.com/Solutions (business).

Group of Zanesville Artists Create Recycled Refrigerator Art for AEP Ohio

Zanesville fridgeBlending the talents of multiple artists together is the perfect recipe for something beautiful.

That’s exactly what Joleen Kinsel, Natasha Oliver and Carrier Turner from The Artist Collective in Zanesville, Ohio displayed when they worked together to turn a 1940s refrigerator into a piece of art. The vintage refrigerator was transformed as a way to educate customers about our Appliance Recycling Program.

“Our differences were our inspiration,” Kinsel said. “We wanted to create a work of art that pulled in traits from our three favorite artists, Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol and Vincent Van Gogh. We proved that you could mesh different styles and genres together and make something amazing.”

The transformed refrigerator will be on display at their gallery, The Artist Collective, located inside the Masonic Temple on 38 N. 4th St. in Room 512, until the end of December.

“I enjoyed getting to do this project with my best friends,” Kinsel said. “Art pulls us all together and keeps us together. It allows us to express with color and shape what we feel and inspires others to look at things differently.”

Kinsel, Turner and Oliver have been working together since they opened their gallery in 2012, but this is the first project they have ever completed together. The three artists mixed their love for pop, impressionistic, expressionistic and unusual art to create something beautiful. Their gallery features up and coming artists, unique displays, art parties, classes and exhibits each month on First Friday Art Walks.

The Appliance Recycling Program is part of our initiative to help customers use less energy, decrease energy costs, conserve natural resources and protect the environment. AEP Ohio customers can earn a $50 rebate when they schedule their inefficient refrigerator or freezer to be recycled, and we’ll pick up the appliance free of charge.

For additional information about AEP Ohio’s energy efficient programs, visit AEPOhio.com/WasteLess.

Is your home ready for winter?

Brrr…

Winter is around the corner, which means colder weather is on its way for Ohioans. Staying warm is a top priority, but can you save money while doing it?

Aside from snuggling under blankets or drinking hot chocolate, we have a few tips on how to prepare your home for wintry weather while putting more money back into your bank account.

 doggie draft stopperRemove drafts

  • According to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafts can waste 5 to 30 percent of your energy use. But, how do you prevent the cold air from blowing in your home?
  • Use a draft snake stopper (or dog). [See photo.]
  • Caulk around windows and doors if the gap is bigger than the width of a nickel.
  • Install storm doors and windows. This can increase efficiency by 45 percent. If you purchase energy efficient doors, windows and skylights you can also qualify for a federal tax credit covering 30 percent of the cost, up to $1500.

Thermostat 101

  • Turn down the heat when you leave your house. Every degree you lower the thermostat, can save one to three percent on your bill.
  • Purchasing a programmable thermostat will help keep tabs on temperature. They are available for $50, but can save the average family $180 per year.

Reverse your ceiling fan

  • This can cut heating costs by as much as 10 percent.
  • That’s right, your fan doesn’t just keep you cold. Run the fan in a clockwise direction creating an upward draft and pushing hot air down.

Change furnace filters

  • This should be done once per month during heating season.
  • Buy filters in bulk and store them near the furnace. This will reduce the cost of each filter, and serve as a constant reminder to change your filter each month.

Consider switching to LEDs for your holiday lighting

  • LED lights use 75 percent less energy helping you to save on your electric bill.
  • LED holiday lights last 25 times longer.
  • LED lights are safer because they generate less heat.

Other quick tips include using your fireplace more, tuning up your heating system, cleaning your gutters and assessing your roof for missing shingles.

Also, now is the perfect time to take an extra step and conduct an online energy check-up. This will help you save on both money and energy during the holiday and winter seasons!

For more ways to save, check out the in-home energy assessment and AEPOhio.com/WasteLess.

 

Second Ohio Artist Repurposes Inefficient Appliance

before and after freezer artYou won’t be able to recognize this 1950s Westinghouse freezer when Canton artist and gallery owner, Su Nimon, is done with it.

Nimon has been transforming the inefficient appliance into a work of art as a way to educate customers about our Appliance Recycling Program.

Come out and watch the transformation in progress tonight from 6 – 9:00 p.m. in the front window of Journey Art Gallery, during downtown Canton’s First Friday event in the Canton Arts District. After the process is complete, the freezer will be on display until the end of November.

“It has been fun to visualize this old freezer as something new,” Nimon said. “As a visual artist, my goal is to inspire and enrich. I want this freezer to bring feelings of freedom, inspiration and encouragement.”

 Nimon grew up in Ohio, and although she has spent much of her life as an engineer and later a graphic designer, she dove back into fine arts when she opened her first studio in 2007. She specializes in expressive acrylic painting. Journey Art Gallery hosts a series of painting, yoga and meditation classes each week.

The Appliance Recycling Program is part of our initiative to help customers use less energy, decrease energy costs, conserve natural resources and protect the environment. AEP Ohio customers can earn a $50 rebate when they schedule their inefficient refrigerator or freezer to be recycled, and we’ll pick up the appliance free of charge.

We’re not done yet. Keep your eyes peeled for two more inefficient appliances transformed by local artists.

 Together, we’re working to promote recycling!

 For additional information about AEP Ohio’s energy efficient programs, visit AEPOhio.com/WasteLess

 

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