Do you have the oldest working refrigerator or freezer in Ohio? Recycle it with AEP Ohio by July 31 and you could win up to $1,250 towards the purchase of an ENERGY STAR appliance.
Everyone’s a winner when they enter this contest.
When you recycle your working refrigerator or freezer with AEP Ohio, we’ll pick up the appliance for free and send you a check for $50. And, you’ll save up to $150 a year in energy costs.
Did you know refrigerators manufactured before 1990 can use up to three times more electricity than new appliances?
To recycle your appliance, sign up at AEPOhio.com or call 1-877-545-4112.
All refrigerators and freezers must be in working order, and 10 to 30 cubic feet in size — the standard for most units. We’ll accept older units with rounded tops that are seven cubic feet or larger.
An AEP Ohio customer recently commended, Djauna Taylor, an area meter reader, for providing assistance to an elderly man found lying on the sidewalk on his property located in Newark.
Taylor, a 25-year-employee, was working her meter route one morning when she heard someone yell for help. As she rushed over to see what was wrong, she saw an elderly man who had fallen off his porch. Taylor helped to make him more comfortable by placing a pillow under his head and talked with him to keep him alert until medical assistance arrived.
While talking with the man, Taylor learned he was 84 years old and about to celebrate a birthday the next week.
“This is not a good way to celebrate your birthday,” Taylor said jokingly.
The paramedics arrived and transported him to the hospital with a broken hip.
The man’s family was extremely appreciative of Taylor’s act of kindness and wrote the following note of appreciation:
“I would like to commend one of your employees for an act of kindness shown to our Dad this morning, May 1 2013. I believe her name was Ms. Djuana Taylor. She came to read the meter and found my father-in-law lying on the sidewalk with a broken hip. At his insistence she went into the house to get his cell phone to call my husband to let him know what had happened. She also thought to bring a pillow out to lay his head on it to make him more comfortable. Then she sat with him and talked to him until help arrived.”
“She went out of her way to help a customer in need. We are forever grateful for what she did for our dad. He could have been down for quite a while had she not helped him. Please express our gratitude to her for being there and getting him help. Thank you, Jeff and Kathy Preston”
Selwyn Dias, vice president-distribution system also conveyed his gratitude to Taylor:
“I want to take a moment to thank you for what you did to help the customer on May 1,” Dias said. You truly showed kindness and caring in everything you did to help the gentleman. As I read the comments submitted by the family, words cannot describe the warmth I feel in my heart. AEP Ohio is honored to have such a caring employee amongst us. Thank you!”
Taylor had just recently returned to work herself and was on light duty after recovering from an injury. In January while training a new meter reader, she slipped on some black ice and broke her leg.
“I had been anxious to get back to work because I’m not used to just sitting around,” Taylor said. “It gave me great joy to be of assistance to that gentleman and his family. I am glad I was at the right place at the right time.”
In honor of his 85th birthday, Taylor sent the man a birthday card and wished him well on his injury.
Water heating accounts for 18 percent of the energy costs in a typical home, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). By finding ways to conserve water use and improve the efficiency of your hot water appliances and equipment, you can save substantially on your utility bills.
Conserving water and energy
- Fix leaking faucets. Repair leaky faucets quickly; a dripping faucet can waste gallons of water each day.
- Run a full load. You can conserve water and energy if you only operate dishwashers, clothes washers and other appliances that use hot water when you have a full load.
- Take showers, not baths. Showers use less water than baths. Consider using a timer to encourage household members to take shorter showers.
- Install low-flow fixtures. Aerated faucets and low-flow showerheads can help lower your water heating costs and reduce water usage by up to 60 percent, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
- Lower the temperature of your hot water heater. Turn the thermostat on your water heater down to 120°F. You can reduce your water heating costs by 6 to 10 percent, according to the EPA.
- Insulate your hot water tank. Insulate the hot water tank on older units, but be careful not to cover the thermostat or the burner on natural gas or oil-fired units. Newer, high-efficiency water heaters may not require insulation.
- Insulate pipes. Insulate the first 6 feet of the hot and cold water pipes connected to your water heater.
- Install a new, energy-efficient water heater. While energy-efficient water heaters may cost more than standard models, the energy savings over the lifetime of the appliance can be substantial. Use the yellow EnergyGuide label to estimate the annual operating cost.
- Energy-efficient appliances. Replace older dishwashers and clothes washers with new, ENERGY STAR rated models. ENERGY STAR qualified appliances use less water and are more energy efficient than standard units.
- Install a drain water heat recovery system. Up to 90 percent of the energy used to heat water in homes literally goes down the drain, according to the DOE. By installing a drain water heat recovery system, you can use this energy to preheat cold water entering the water heater.
- Hot water on demand. Demand or tankless water heaters provide hot water as needed, without the standby losses associated storage water heaters. According to the DOE, demand units can be 8 to 34 percent more efficient than conventional storage tank water heaters; depending on the size of the home.
Solar water heating
Solar water heating is a cost-effective way to provide hot water for your home. Systems include storage tanks and solar collectors, which are typically mounted on the roof. Solar water heaters often require backup for cloudy days or periods of high demand. The backup is usually a conventional storage tank unit, which often comes as part of the solar water heating system installation.
There are two basic types of solar water heating systems, active and passive. Active systems include a pump to circulate water throughout the house. Passive systems are less expensive, but not as efficient. However, they typically require less maintenance and may last longer.
An ENERGY STAR qualified solar water heater can reduce your water heating costs by 50 percent.
- Studies have failed to link adverse health effects to the radio frequency emissions of smart meters.
- Government and industry standards have been developed to ensure smart meter security.
- Smart meter suppliers are asked to comply with requirements regarding remote access, authentication, encryption and privacy of metered data and customer information.
Smart meters provide interactive communication between utilities and their customers, allowing for more accurate billing, improved management of energy demand and faster outage detection. When connected to smart appliances and energy-management systems, they allow homeowners and facilities to better monitor and manage their energy use and save on utility costs. There are an estimated 36 million smart meters currently installed, according to the Institute for Electric Efficiency, and this number is expected to grow to 65 million by 2015. (IEE 2012) Despite their many benefits, efforts to install smart meters have raised concerns about potential adverse health effects and privacy issues surrounding this new technology.
Can smart meters negatively impact health?
Smart meters use a wireless radio frequency (RF) interface, as well as power line communication (PLC) technology—although not all RF meters have smart capabilities. Exposure to large amounts of RF fields can raise body temperature and cause tissue damage. However, the level of RF fields emitted by wireless smart meters is well below the amount that can cause heat-induced health effects. In fact, studies have shown that smart meter RF levels are far less than those of other everyday household devices.
A report by the California Council on Science and Technology concluded that “wireless smart meters, when installed and properly maintained, result in much smaller levels of radio frequency (RF) exposure than many existing common household electronic devices, such as cell phones and microwave ovens.” The report went on to state that the level of radio frequency emissions from smart meters cause no heat-induced health effects and that they are only a small fraction of the exposure levels established as safe by the Federal Communications Commission. (CCST 2011)
Other claims have been made for non-thermal health effects from low-level RF exposure; including headaches, fatigue and anxiety. However, to date, scientific evidence does not support a link between these symptoms and exposure to RF fields, according to the World Health Organization. (WHO 2012) A scientific review by the Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention indicated a “broad consensus that studies to date give no consistent or convincing evidence of a causal relation between RF exposure in the range of frequencies and power used by smart meters and adverse health effects.” (Maine CDC 2010)
Security and privacy
Concerns have arisen about the detailed data that can be gathered from smart meters and the security of that data. Smart meter opponents claim that these sophisticated devices can be used to reveal information about consumers’ lifestyles and threaten their privacy.
A number of efforts by government and the utility industry are addressing these concerns. For example, in 2010 the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) issued voluntary security standards for smart meters and other smart grid-related devices. Smart meter suppliers are asked to comply with requirements regarding remote access, authentication, encryption and privacy of metered data and customer information. Third-party certification of smart meters is fast becoming the norm across the country.
As of August 2011, the California Public Utility Commission requires utilities to regularly conduct independent security audits of their millions of wireless meters and restrict access to customers’ personal data by third parties, such as energy-efficiency consultants. These were the first such rules adopted in the United States and could serve as a role model for other states.
With the potential of smart meters to reduce energy use and help modernize the grid, the utility industry will continue to work with the government and technology providers to ensure security and privacy, and provide accurate information regarding health issues.
California Council on Science and Technology (CCST). Health Impacts of Radio Frequency Exposure from Smart Meters. April 2011.
Edison Electric Institute (EEI). Smart Meters and Smart Meter Systems. May 2011.
Institute for Electric Efficiency (IEE). Utility-Scale Smart Meter Deployments, Plans and Proposals. May 2012.
Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention (Main CDC) Government or Government-Affiliated Resources Reviewed on the Health Effects of Non-Ionizing Radiation. November 2010.
World Health Organization (WHO). What Are Electromagnetic Fields? (Accessed November 14, 2012).
The old saying never put off until tomorrow what you can do today is as true for energy conservation as it is for anything else. While energy efficiency projects such as weatherization and furnace upgrades may seem time consuming and expensive, there is no need to worry. These low-cost energy-saving measures will not take up much of your time and they can help you to start reducing your energy costs today.
- Adjust your thermostat. Adjusting temperatures at night or when you are not at home is one of the most effective ways to lower your energy bill. For every degree of temperature change over an eight-hour period, you can save an average of 1 percent on your heating or cooling costs.
- Go unplugged. The average American household uses 25 consumer electronic devices. Many of these devices continue to use energy when they are turned off. While some devices must remain plugged in, unplug extra televisions, stereos or computers that you do not use very often. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, unplugging unused electronics can save you up to 10 percent on your electric bill.
- Change your furnace filter. A dirty furnace filter reduces heating and cooling system efficiency, wasting energy and costing you money. If you have not changed your filter for awhile, check it. Filters for most systems can be found at your local hardware or DIY store. Change the filter once per month during the heating and cooling seasons.
- Lower your water heater temperature. Tank water heaters are typically installed at a temperature setting of 140°F. You can save on water heating costs simply by lowering the thermostat. For most households, a temperature setting of 120°F can optimize savings while still providing you with a hot shower.
- Air dry your laundry. If you are planning on doing some laundry, why not air dry your clothes? It will save you the cost of running your dryer and air drying can help your clothes to last longer.
- Close the curtain on heat loss. Windows produce a substantial amount of heat loss and decorative window treatments (such as draperies, shades and shutters) can keep that heat where you want it—inside your house. Make sure window treatments hang as close as possible to the window to create a sealed air space. Close window treatments at night to trap in extra heat.
- Cook up energy savings. Home cooking is a great way to make healthy meals for your family, but careless cooking habits can waste energy. Cover pots and pans; food will cook more efficiently and the kitchen will stay cooler in the summer. Match pots and pans to the size of the burner and keep burners clean. Save energy by using a microwave oven to heat food whenever possible.
- Turn on ceiling fans. If your home has ceiling fans, turn them on during hot or cold days. Turning them on in the summer increases air circulation, making you feel more comfortable and reducing your need for air conditioning. In winter, reverse fan direction to circulate warm air that rises near the ceiling down into the living space. To avoid wasting energy, remember to switch ceiling fans off when you leave a room.
By looking around your home and asking yourself some questions, you can probably find additional ways to save. Are lights frequently left on in unoccupied rooms? Do you wash dishes and laundry with less than a full load? Can you take a shorter shower in the morning? With a few simple lifestyle changes, you can reduce your energy costs and your impact on the environment.
AEP Ohio is a corporate partner in ServeOhio, the governor-appointed commission on service and volunteerism, which has announced mini-grant awards to support seven local Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service projects on Jan. 21.
The grants, made possible through Stewards of Service corporate partners AEP Ohio and Honda of America Mfg., Inc., honor Dr. King’s legacy by increasing economic opportunities through service and volunteer activities. Service projects will take place in two communities within AEP Ohio service territory, Columbus and McArthur, Ohio, as well as in Akron, Cleveland, Lebanon, Mansfield and Toledo.
Each project commits to bringing volunteers together to create or improve community assets or infrastructure, and supports local community engagement that advances economic opportunity. The various projects include collaborative partnerships among businesses and nonprofits. Finally, they all include an education component to create long-term, sustainable change on issues and people.
“As the need for service continues to grow, we honor Dr. King by supporting local organizations that give back and make a real impact on our communities,” said William Hall, ServeOhio executive director. “Ohio volunteers will use the power of service to strengthen economic security and make a difference in our local communities.”
Each ServeOhio grant totals between $800 and $1,000. The projects in AEP Ohio service territory are:
- Columbus — HandsOn Central Ohio: The goal of HandsOn Central Ohio’s (HOCO) MLK Day 2013 service project is to mobilize youth and teach them how to lead others in service projects to address local community needs. They will partner with the King Arts Complex for their annual MLK Day Open House which traditionally draws 5,000 youth and families. HOCO will provide leadership training on tools needed to lead service projects. Other plans include youth decorating a bus seat to symbolize Rosa Parks’ courage, creating flower bouquets for patients at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, assembling fleece blankets for residents of the YWCA Family Center, and creating cards of thanks for American troops serving overseas.
- McArthur — Sojourners Care Network: Vinton County is the least diverse county in Ohio, where 97.6% of the population is Caucasian. Sojourners Care Network spearheads the only MLK Day Celebration and community service project in the county. On Jan. 21, 20 teachers, 50 Sojourners staff and 40 community volunteers will provide services to 828 elementary school children. They will assemble MLK skits, highlight tolerance, provide Civil Rights history, and use the “MLK Day Express” — a one-engine, two-car train — to share Dr. King’s message and engage students.
Other projects awarded grants in the program are:
- Akron — University of Akron, Department of Student Life, Civic Engagement Programs: 50 University of Akron students will volunteer with Nazareth Housing to revitalize neighborhoods across the city of Akron. Volunteers will construct and rebuild several low-income properties that require interior and exterior construction/demolition work, along with landscaping.
- Cleveland — City Year Cleveland: City Year will organize 450 volunteer youth, parents and citizens at five schools and community organizations for a “MLK Day of Service.” Volunteers will organize and participate in poem and essay contests, repaint classrooms, perform basic maintenance, beautify central meeting areas and make 200 hygiene and support kits for military servicemembers.
- Lebanon — The Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Coalition of Lebanon, Ohio, Inc.: 125 volunteers will host a community meal, paint the veterans’ hall at the American Legion post, set up local nonprofit resource tables at the host site space, organize a collection drive and stuff envelopes for the Child Advocacy Center. An additional 125 volunteers will be organized to continue the service throughout the next year.
- Mansfield — SPARC: The Big Red Bookshelf will put books into the homes of young, low-income children ages 0-7 and provide free literacy screenings. The first book drive will kick off Jan. 21 at the MLK Memorial, and several locations will host ongoing book drives where children can continually take books home to keep. Screening tools and information tool kits for parents will also be provided.
- Toledo — University Church: Volunteers from a designated elementary school, University Church and A Renewed Mind will create a “Parent Zone” at the school. They will develop, paint and decorate a community area for parents to minimize barriers between home and school. Information will be provided on updated community services, emergency assistance, job training, health services and the history of Dr. King’s legacy.
A. Our rates include overhead expenses such as repairing equipment and facilities after normal storms we expect to see.
Our rates don’t include extraordinary expenses, such as bringing in hundreds additional workers to repair large-scale damage to the infrastructure.
We’ve asked the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) to approve a Storm Recovery Rider to recover the cost of materials, equipment and extra manpower that was necessary to reduce the time our customers were without power.
In the case of these summer storms, more than 94 percent of our storm expenses are due to the need to bring in outside line mechanics to work around the clock to restore electricity to our customers as quickly as possible.
A customer who uses an average amount of electricity will pay about $36 over 12 months, if the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio approves the Storm Recovery Rider.
Why doesn’t AEP Ohio have insurance? It’s cost-prohibitive to us and to our customers. Few insurance companies are willing to take the risk of insuring an electric utility. Essentially, we’re self-insured against normal storms.
Remember, our total cost for repairs and power restoration is not a bill that will be automatically paid by our customers. The PUCO, which regulates how utilities operate in our state, must carefully review all of our storm costs and determine what will be recovered.
Traditionally, the New Year is a time for making resolutions to improve your life. Two perennial favorites are dieting and saving money. Homeowners can combine these two by going on an energy diet. By adopting these easy, low-cost strategies, you can save on energy costs all year long. Let the 10 simple resolutions that follow serve as your guideline for saving energy year-round and living a more sustainable lifestyle.
- Get an energy checkup. Do not put it off any longer; a home energy assessment by a qualifiedauditor is one of the best ways to find energy-saving opportunities and lower your utility costs. Learn how you can start saving energy and money when you participate in the AEP Ohio In-home Energy Program.
- Switch to energy-efficient lighting. Conventional incandescent bulbs that do not meet new federal energy-efficiency regulations will be slowly disappearing from store shelves. Now is a great time to switch to high-performance compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light-emitting diode (LED) lights. Learn more about the AEP Ohio Smart Lighting Program.
- Plug energy leaks. Install weather-stripping around doors and windows to ensure that they are properly sealed. Check for and seal air leaks in the attic, basement, and around plumbing and wiring access points.
- Conserve hot water. Maintain the temperature of your water heater at 120ºF or lower, and take quick showers instead of baths. Low-flow shower heads and aerated faucets can increase savings.
- Adjust temperatures. Properly adjust the thermostat when your home is unoccupied to avoid heating or cooling an empty house. A programmable thermostat can add convenience and optimize savings.
- Heat and cool naturally.Take advantage of natural sunlight and window shading to provide no-cost heating and cooling.
- Wait for a full load. Save energy by only running the dishwasher and clothes washer when they are fully loaded.
- Air dry the laundry. Clothes dryers are big energy users; air dry clothing whenever possible.
- Power down. Turn off or unplug computers, battery chargers, or other electronic equipment when they are not in use.
- Focus on energy efficiency. Whenever possible, replace older appliances and equipment with high-efficiency ENERGY STAR rated products. Discover how AEP Ohio’s Appliance Rebate Program can help you earn rebates on the purchase of select ENERGY STAR® certified appliances.
It is no secret that New Year’s resolutions can quickly go by the wayside. To help you stay on track, set goals that are specific and measurable. How do you measure your progress? Simply compare your monthly energy bill with those of previous years. The money that you save should provide enough incentive to keep you going all year long. For details about AEP Ohio’s Energy Efficiency Programs, visit AEPOhio.com/Rebates.
Did you know that operating an older model refrigerator or freezer could be driving up your electric bill? Models that are 20 years old consume approximately 2-3 times more energy than today’s energy efficient units.
If your older refrigerator is a second unit, you’re probably paying more to run it for sporadic refrigeration needs than the primary fridge in your kitchen. Recycle that older unit with AEP Ohio and receive a $60 rebate if you sign up by Dec. 24 in addition to instant energy savings.
If your older model is your primary unit, AEP Ohio also offers a $50 rebate on the purchase of a new ENERGY STAR® certified fridge or freezer. By combining the two programs, you could receive $60 for recycling your old unit, plus a $50 rebate for the purchase of a new energy efficient unit, plus instant energy savings of up to $150 annually. These programs run through December 31.
Older refrigerators and freezers picked up through the program are de-manufactured into recyclable materials at a facility operated by the national firm JACO Environmental. JACO’s process safely removes toxins, such as mercury and oils, which poison the environment when refrigerators and freezers are discarded in landfills, or illegally dumped. JACO converts 95 percent of each appliance including metals, glass and plastics that end up in a wide range of products. Even the foam insulation is safely incinerated to generate electricity.
With the addition of in-store delivery and free, at home pickup scheduling, it’s even easier for residents to make a dramatic difference in their home’s energy efficiency, while contributing to a recycling process that takes pressure off demand for natural resources.
AEP Ohio customers who want their older fridge or freezer picked up for recycling can call 1-877-545-4112, or visit AEPOhio.com/Rebates to make arrangements. The program is limited to removal of two units per household. Appliances must be in working order and sized between 10-30 cubic feet, using inside measurements. Smaller dormitory-sized units do not qualify.
Investor-owned utilities in Ohio are required to meet specific energy reduction targets. The energy efficiency programs are part of AEP Ohio’s overall energy efficiency and peak demand response efforts to meet the State of Ohio’s target of reducing electricity consumption 22 percent by the end of 2025. For more information about AEP Ohio’s energy efficiency consumer programs, events and tips, go to AEPOhio.com/Rebates.