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Energy Efficient Renovation Tips for Every Room in Your House

aep-ohio-interactive-houseA home renovation project can give you the opportunity to boost comfort levels, add convenience, space and lower energy costs by improving your home’s energy efficiency.

The first step to saving energy is to finding out how and where you’re wasting it. Get an energy assessment before starting your renovations to determine which rooms are problem areas in your home. Once you know where you’re wasting energy, follow these tips to make your home as energy efficient as possible.

Kitchen

  • Home renovations could mean shopping for new, more energy efficient kitchen appliances. Replace older appliances and equipment with high-efficiency
    ENERGY STAR® rated products. Rebates are available for AEP Ohio residential customers.
  • Install an oven hood that is externally vented to filter steam from your stove outside. Steam can contribute to the temperature in your home, making it harder for the A/C to keep your house cool in the summer.
  • Get $60 when you recycle your old, working refrigerator or freezer before August 31. Doing this can save you up to $150 a year in energy costs and protects the environment!

 Bathroom

  •  Invest $10 on a low-flow shower head and yield hot water savings of 25-60 percent.
  • Control moisture and save energy by installing ENERGY STAR qualified ventilation fans. See the EPA’s WaterSense program for information about high-performance products.
  • Seal air leaks and install the appropriate insulation in walls behind tubs and showers during your renovation.

Living Area

  • When redecorating after a big home renovation, make sure to keep furnishings away from floor or return air vents. Vents that are blocked can prevent air from circulating properly.
  • Switch to high-performance compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs. You’ll find a large selection of energy-efficient lighting, specialty CFLs and LEDs with immediate discounts in our online SMART Lighting Store.
  • Install a programmable thermostat and adjust temperatures at night, or when you are not at home, to lower your energy use and your bill!

Laundry Room

  • Take the time to inspect your dryer vent to ensure that it is not blocked. You may want to consider having it cleaned professionally while doing your other renovations.
  • If you are looking into buying a new dryer, consider purchasing a model with a moisture sensor that will automatically shut the machine off when your clothes are dry.
  • Ponder the idea of installing an outdoor laundry line during your renovation. Air-drying will save you the cost of running the dryer in warmer months and help your clothes last longer.

 Bedroom

  • Install a ceiling fan to keep cool air circulating at night without running up your energy bill.
  • Installation of lighting controls such as dimmers, timers, motion sensors and photocells can help you adjust lighting levels for different uses and times of the day. Keep your lights dimmed before bed to help you ease into sleep, and save energy at the same time.
  • If you have plans to install window treatments, (such as draperies, shades and shutters) hang them as close to the window as possible to create a sealed air space. Doing this can trap extra heat and keep you feeling warm!

 

AEP Ohio announces community winners in energy savers pilot program

Cities of Lima, Louisville and Discovery District of Columbus, exceed participation goals

Lima Check Presentation - CESThree fortunate Ohio communities — the cities of Lima, Louisville and the Discovery District of Columbus, located in the eastern half of Downtown Columbus — have exceeded their participation goals in AEP Ohio’s Community Energy Savers, an innovative, new energy efficiency pilot program.

The program works with governments and communities to encourage residents and businesses to participate in energy efficiency programs offered by AEP Ohio.

Not only do community members benefit from saving energy and money in their homes and businesses, but also their actions help the community receive incentives from AEP Ohio that can be put towards an improvement project identified by the community.

Louisville YMCAFor exceeding its goal of 750 participants, the city of Lima received $75,000 to use towards lighting upgrades at Simmons Field, home of the Lima Locos and other area baseball teams.

For exceeding its goal of 300 participants, the city of Louisville received $30,000 to use towards lighting upgrades at the YMCA, and the Library’s Old Post Office building.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor exceeding its goal of 100 participants, the Discovery District received $10,000 to use towards energy efficiency projects at the Thurber Center, Kelton House and Kappa Kappa Gamma. Remaining funds will be used for a celebratory event to further promote sustainability.

In addition, AEP Ohio is awarding each community with a Sustainability Roadmap that will provide a framework for their ongoing sustainability initiatives.

To achieve this goal, community representatives made remarkable efforts promoting AEP Ohio’s energy efficiency programs and educating the community members on the benefits of energy efficiency and sustainability, and how to participate in AEP Ohio’s efficiency programs.

“We honor the leadership of these first three communities — the Discovery District in Columbus, Lima and Louisville — and applaud their successes,” said Jon Williams, Manager of Energy Efficiency and Demand Response for AEP Ohio. “Each community approached the challenge with different strategies and all have won. Plus, more than 1,200 participants benefitted from learning about or participating in energy efficiency programs to save energy and money in the homes and businesses of these three communities.”

If your community is interested in participating in Energy Savers, contact Sherry Hubbard, Energy Efficiency Programs Coordinator, at sjhubbard@aep.com or call 740-349-4004 to discuss the opportunity.

To learn more about the Energy Savers program results and all the participating communities, visit EnergySavers2014.com.

Visit AEPOhio.com/WasteLess for information about AEP Ohio’s energy efficiency programs for residents. For information about energy efficiency programs for businesses, visit AEPOhio.com/Solutions.

What it takes to become part of AEP Ohio’s elite team of line mechanics

brandiMeet one of AEP Ohio’s newer line mechanics: Brandi Persch.

Persch, who is currently enrolled in the company’s line school as an apprentice, is assigned to a Columbus service center that serves the city’s southwest quadrant.
Brandi’s journey to becoming a line mechanic began back in 1998 when she joined the company as a meter reader.

Any time additional training was offered, Persch saw it as an opportunity to expand her technical capabilities.

It wasn’t until the 2012 Derecho, however, when Persch got a chance to help with the company’s massive restoration efforts that the idea of becoming a line mechanic began to take root.

“It was the first time I got to see line work in progress,” Persch said. “I was fascinated by what I saw.”

“It may seem a bit different for a woman to want to be a line mechanic, but I love it!” Persch explained. “I set my goal to train hard and work every day toward the goal of becoming a candidate for line school.”

Steps to becoming a line mechanic
When an employee applies for a line mechanic position, they have to successfully pass the following assessments. The first step in getting qualified is to take the CAST and Strength tests.

The CAST test helps determine whether the candidate has the aptitude for the duties required in the line mechanic position. The Strength test determines whether the candidate can handle the physical aspects – which can be very demanding — of the job.

Following successful passing of the CAST and Strength tests, the candidate can advance to take the Pre-Assessment.

The Pre-Assessment involves a number of challenging tasks including the following:
•Climbing poles at various heights from 4 to 20 feet, with and without fall restraints
•Conducting several tasks such as installing crossarms while on the pole at 4 feet
•Carrying a 25-foot ladder weighing 60 lbs. and materials weighing 20 lbs.
•Ladder climbing and performing a job task safely while on a ladder
•Climbing inside a bucket truck and elevation to a height of 46 – 50 feet

A day in the life
From conversations with her peers, Persch learned the job of a line mechanic is demanding and often times hazardous. Line mechanics can work long hours in extreme conditions and are on call 24 hours a day. They can also be away from home for long periods of time while doing storm restoration work in other states.

Knowing she would need the support of her family if she were to pursue this career, Persch talked to her husband, his parents and her parents, and everyone gave their blessings and support.

Having her family’s encouragement inspired her to continue working toward her goal. Last August, her hard work paid off. Persch passed the Pre-Assessment and accepted her current position. Persch still has a long road ahead of her, but says it’s the journey not the destination.

Apprentices go through 9,000 hours of on-the-job training and classroom instruction over a four-year period. To graduate, students must pass a written exam at 80 percent and demonstrate mastery of the competencies learned by passing seven field events at 100 percent.

When asked what advice she would give to other women and men who might be interested in the line mechanic profession, Persch says, “If you want to be a part of this elite group, you need to make sure it is truly what you want and know why you want it. Then you must work hard, set your goals and go for it.”

Committed to keeping Ohio Shining Brightly

Transmission Projects photo for aepohioanswersFrom 2013 through 2015, AEP Ohio is investing $1 billion to keep Ohio shining brightly.

This investment is being used to improve our electric transmission system by replacing aging infrastructure and bolstering the grid so that we can continue to meet Ohio’s growing electricity demands.

We’re also aware that several power plants are expected to retire soon. This will change the way electricity flows onto the grid, meaning that we need to make some adjustments to our transmission infrastructure to maintain a dependable supply of electricity for our customers.

To keep the lights on across the state, we are constantly looking ahead to plan for what changes in the industry may impact our customers’ electricity supply. We are already planning, engineering and constructing transmission projects in most of our service areas including:

•Northwestern Ohio: receiving a new 138-kilovolt (kV) transmission station, with improvements to several existing stations and upgrades to existing transmission lines

•South central Ohio: receiving a new transmission station and two new 138-kV transmission lines

•Southeastern Ohio: about 50 miles of a 345-kV transmission line is being rewired

We are always happy to hear from property owners, customers and stakeholders with comments or questions about any of our transmission infrastructure projects. Just call our Transmission Project Information Line on 614-883-6929 or toll-free 1-877-215-9261 or email Brett Schmied, project outreach specialist, at beschmied@aep.com.

You can also attend various local project workshops or Ohio Power Siting Board public hearings.

Information about all of our transmission projects, workshops and public hearings is available online at www.aeptransmission.com/ohio/

Eleven Ways to Cool Your Home Efficiently This Summer

Ohio is famous for its fluctuations in weather, especially in the summer, which can be both positive and negative for customers who are looking to achieve energy efficiency during the warmer seasons.

There are small, easy steps you can take to lower energy costs this summer without depriving yourself of the simple comforts at home. What is the first step you can take? Get an energy assessment and learn where possible energy efficiency problems areas are in your home.

Cooling can get expensive during the summer, when temperatures are highest in Ohio. You’ll be happy to know that you can keep your house cool without breaking the bank this summer. You just have to know how!

Windows and Vents

1) Installing window treatments, awnings or light-colored shades can make a world of difference in keeping the heat out.
2) Close shades on south-facing windows to block sunlight during the day.
3) Make sure to keep all vents uncovered and keep their filters cleaned. The harder the vent has to work to push air out, the more energy it will use.
4) Open your windows on cooler nights to let the cold air in and cool your home naturally.

Appliances

5) Keep heat-producing appliances away from air conditioning units. They will sense the heat from these appliances and continue to run even if the house has already cooled down.

Behaviors

6) Use your microwave instead of a conventional oven to avoid letting warm air into your kitchen and home.
7) Turn fans off when you leave a room.

Thermostat:

Thermostat8) Install a programmable thermostat that you can set to fluctuate with your schedule. Set it to a higher temperature while you are gone during the day, and schedule it to cool down right before you get home.
9) Set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible. Having it on a radically low setting will not increase the rate that the house cools down.
10) Run your ceiling fans with your air conditioning. They allow you to increase your thermostat temperature by up to four degrees.

energy guide

11) Looking for new appliances this summer? Make sure to look for the yellow EnergyGuide label on appliances and compare the energy efficiency of different models. AEP Ohio offers Energy Star certified appliances and even offers a rebate to customers who make the switch! (Photo credit: consumer.ftc.gov)

AEP Ohio partners with HomeServe USA to offer affordable Home Warranty Services to customers

Optional coverage helps customers protect critical services lines and save money on repairs

Have you thought about what would happen if your exterior electrical service system was damaged?

weatherhead-roof

If this equipment is damaged, AEP Ohio would not be able to restore power to your home, until a licensed electrician completed repairs.

For customers with overhead service, this includes the weatherhead, service entrance cable, riser pipe and meter box.

For customers with underground service, this includes where the wire goes into the meter base.

Repairs can be hundreds of dollars and normally are not covered by basic homeowner’s insurance.

Now you can protect yourself with the new Home Warranty program, provided in partnership with HomeServe USA.

With the Exterior Electrical Line coverage, you’ll get:

•Up to $3,000 in coverage annually (30-day wait period with a money-back guarantee)
•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

In addition to Exterior Electrical Line Coverage, HomeServe offers the following service plans that are available to AEP Ohio’s residential customers:

•Interior Electrical Line Coverage
•Surge Coverage
•Water Heater Coverage
•Heating System Coverage
•Cooling System Coverage
•Water Service Line Coverage
•Sewer/Septic Line Coverage

HomeServe’s offerings are available at different price points and costs will be added to customer’s monthly electric bill. The program is completely optional and customers can cancel the warranty coverage at any time.

Over the next few weeks, customers will be receiving an introductory postcard and letter in the mail about this new optional coverage and an opportunity to sign-up for the program.

In the meantime, if you would like additional information on how you can protect yourself at an affordable cost, call HomeServe’s toll-free number at 1-855-769-6267 or visit AEPOhio.com/HomeWarranty.

HomeServe USA Repair Management Corp. (“HomeServe”) is an independent company separate from AEP Ohio and offers this optional service as an authorized representative of AMT Warranty Corp., the contract issuer. Your choice of whether to participate in this service plan will not affect the price, availability or terms of service from AEP Ohio.

AEP Ohio announces 2013 Energy Efficiency Leadership Awards

AEP Ohio recently honored 14 businesses, organizations and educators from throughout the state at its second Energy Efficiency Leadership Awards event in Columbus. The award recognizes AEP Ohio’s business customers and partners who have demonstrated a strong commitment to energy efficiency.  

“Each of the award winners has made outstanding contributions to increasing energy efficiency within their organizations, reducing their energy use while helping them save money on energy costs,”  said Pablo A. Vegas, AEP Ohio president and chief operating officer.  “We honor these 14 businesses, organizations and educators whose leadership and dedication to energy efficiency has helped to save more than 107 million kilowatt hours of electricity in 2013, an amount equal to powering 10,229 homes. We hope their efforts will inspire other businesses to partner with AEP Ohio and take advantage of our energy efficiency programs.”

 2013 AEP Ohio Energy Efficiency Leadership Award Winner

 The Ohio Manufacturers’ Association

 2013 AEP Ohio Energy Efficiency Champion Award Winners

 Business Customers

  • Costco Wholesale
  • Dublin City Schools
  • Denison University
  • Crown Battery Manufacturing Company

 Business Partners

  • Logan Services (Central Ohio)
  • State Electric Supply Company
  • Energy Management Solutions

 Residential Partners

  • Suzanne Howard, Educator
  • Ohio Heartland Community Action (Central Ohio)
  • Wal-Mart
  • Tracy’s Appliances, Inc.
  • Bob Webb Homes (Central Ohio)
  • Greene Solutions (Central Ohio)

 AEP Ohio offers a variety of energy efficiency programs and discounts to help residential and business customers to waste less energy and start saving money. For more information, visit AEPOhio.com/WasteLess (residential) or AEPOhio.com/Solutions (business).

 

 

Room by Room: Home Electrical Safety

powercordElectricity is a safe and reliable form of energy that is used every day to power equipment and appliances in your home. However, it can be dangerous in not treated properly. The following is a checklist of items that you can use throughout your home to help protect your family.

Whole House

Make sure light bulbs are the appropriate wattage for all fixtures.

  • Keep portable heaters and dehumidfiers stable and placed at least three feet from walls and other objects.
  • Cover all outlets with face plates that fit snugly to walls.
  • If small children are present, install covers on all unused outlets.
  • Keep electrical cords away from foot traffic and make sure that they are not covered by rugs or furniture.
  • Do not use extension cords on a permanent basis. Install extra outlets, or move electrical devices closer to outlets.

Kitchen

  • Unplug counter top appliances when not in use.
  • Locate appliance cords where they will not come into contact with a heat source, such as the stove or range.
  • Make sure all kitchen outlets are ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protected. GFCIs monitor the current that flows into circuits and shut it off if an imbalance is detected.

Bathrooms

  • Unplug all small appliances when not in use.
  • Never use electrical devices, such as a radios or hair dryers, in or near the bathtub.
  • Install only GFCI outlets in the bathroom.

Bedrooms

  • Avoid drinking water or any other type of liquid when using an electric blanket or heating pad. Do not cover an electric blanket when in use.
  • Make sure electric blankets are in good condition; check for cracks or breaks that may indicate damage.

Basement

  • Keep the electrical panel free from obstructions, and make sure your hands and the floor are dry before touching the panel.
  • Install GFCIs in outlets located near clothes washers or wash tubs, or all over the basement if it is damp.

Outdoors

  • Install protective covers on all outlets and make sure all outlets are GFCIs.
  • Make sure power tools are in good condition and wires are not cracked or frayed.
  • Store power tools indoors to keep them from being damaged by water or excessive heat.
  • Never use power tools or electrical devices near a pond or other wet location.
  • When working outdoors, use only weather-resistant extension cords marked for outdoor use.
  • Power lines may be underground as well. Before digging, call 811 to have utility lines marked.

This list is for informational purposes only and is not meant to supersede any state or local building codes. Contact your state fire marshal or local building inspector for any information regarding code requirements in your area. Remember that common sense and good safety habits are the best protection against electrical hazards.

AEP Ohio Announces the Discovery District Civic Association’s Participation In Community Energy Savers Program

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAEP Ohio and the Discovery District Civic Association (DDCA) are partnering to help residents and businesses reduce energy use and costs through a pilot program called Community Energy Savers.

Community Energy Savers, launched by AEP Ohio, works with communities to encourage residents and businesses to participate in energy efficiency programs offered by AEP Ohio. Not only do community members benefit from saving energy and money in their homes and businesses, their actions also help the community receive incentives from AEP Ohio that can be put towards an improvement project identified by the community.

“AEP Ohio continually seeks to improve the quality of life in the communities where we live and work. That’s why we are enthusiastic about joining with communities in our new Energy Savers program,” said Jon Williams, energy efficiency and consumer programs manager for AEP Ohio. “The program helps to educate residents about our energy-saving programs as well as the many solutions and incentives available for businesses.”

Working with the Discovery District, AEP Ohio has established a goal of 100 participants by June 30. If this goal is reached in time, AEP Ohio will provide funding to complete an energy efficiency project in the District and sponsor a green event for the community. In addition, the Discovery District is currently working with the city of Columbus to receive certification as a GreenSpot Neighborhood. By participating in Energy Savers, community members can help the Discovery District with both of these initiatives and demonstrate the neighborhood’s commitment to sustainable practices.

“Participating in Energy Savers is a great way for the District’s residents and businesses to learn more about energy efficiency and the incentives available through AEP Ohio that will save customers money on their bottom line,” says Harlan Schottenstein, president of the DDCA. “In addition, the Energy Savers pilot program will also help the Discovery District be the first to receive the GreenSpot Neighborhood certification through the city of Columbus.”

Customers of AEP Ohio located in the Discovery District can participate in Energy Savers in a variety of ways – regardless of whether they purchase their generation from AEP Ohio or from an alternative retail electric supplier.

For instance, customers can recycle their old, inefficient refrigerators through the Appliance Recycling program and receive a $50 incentive check plus free pickup. Customers also can schedule an assessment with the In-home Energy program to identify and correct areas in their homes where they may be wasting energy. Technical support and financial incentives are also available to help business customers that install energy efficient equipment and technologies.

To learn more about how to participate and help the Discovery District, visit EnergySavers2014.com.

Visit AEPOhio.com/WasteLess for information about AEP Ohio’s energy efficiency programs for residents. For information about energy efficiency programs for businesses, visit AEPOhio.com/Solutions.

AEP Ohio releases first Year-End Report

We are AEP OhioWe are proud to release AEP Ohio’s 2013 Year-End Report. The digital report highlights how we are working to keep the lights on across the state and more, while providing the best possible service to our customers.

Here are just a few facts:

  • Since 2009, we’ve invested more than $1.1 billion to keep our service territory shining brightly.
  • On average, customers experienced fewer outages during normal day-to-day operations in 2013 through equipment upgrades, and tree and vegetation removal.
  • 2013 marked the fifth year of programs that helped our customers reduce their energy bills, saving them more than $1 billion and more than 2.2 million MWh — that’s enough electricity to power every home in Chillicothe, Gahanna, Lima, Newark, Waverly, Wellston and Wooster for 10 years.
  • Also in 2013, working with communities and economic development allies, we helped 15 companies to expand or locate their business in our service territory, securing more than 1,100 jobs and providing $500 million in new investment to aid business location and expansion.

In the Year-End Report, hear from our President and Chief Operating Officer Pablo Vegas, and learn about our transition to a “wires-only” company and how we are proposing the best smart grid technologies to help customers gain control of energy use, save money and reduce consumption.

Also, find out how we’re powering local economies, recharging the communities where we live and serve, and working with our legislators and regulators. This is the first time we have issued a report of this kind to the people that matter most, our customers. Check us out and share your thoughts in the comments section below or catch us on Facebook at facebook.com/AEPOhio  or AEP Ohio’s Twitter weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

In the words of Pablo Vegas: “All of us at AEP Ohio are proud of our work to provide efficient and reliable energy — we are committed to keeping Ohio shining brightly.”

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