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While 4-County members continue to ring in the New Year, we are seeing the first round of extremely cold weather for the winter season. Now is a good time to look at some energy efficiency tips and programs.
People can help keep their energy use costs down with some simple fixes such as using compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), turning off lights, doing some simple weather proofing and especially keeping the thermostat as low as possible. “Heating and cooling account for up to half the cost of the average Mississippi household’s electric bill. So when the weather is especially cold or hot, your bill will go up,” said Jon Turner, 4-County manager of marketing and public relations. “And during the holiday months and through January, people tend to use even more power with extra visitors, cooking, kids home from school, extra laundry and Christmas lights. It all adds up,” Turner added.
Energy use and costs follow a typical curve during the course of the year according to Turner. “Most 4-County members see higher bills in the summer and winter, when temperatures tend to go up or down and stay there for days or weeks at a time. In the spring and fall, the temperatures tend to be more moderate and bills tend to be lower and it usually all averages out,” Turner said. “The cost of electricity doesn’t change in the cold weather, but people tend to use more of it, so it costs them more,” Turner added.
4-County understands that higher bills can be tough on members and has several programs for members that can help them find ways to lower their energy use and their costs. Those include a free Energy Use Audit which features a home visit from a 4-County energy advisor, and the eScore program which is designed for members who want to make larger energy efficient changes to their homes. eScore offers incentives and financing, with approved credit, for things like adding insulation or installing a newer, more efficient heat pump. “4-County members can also track their daily energy use online, which is another great tool for understanding energy use. It can really help people see what they use every day, and how much weather and other factors play a part in daily electric use,” Turner said. He also stresses that new payment options such as Prepay can also help. “If members choose to enroll in our Prepay program, they don’t get monthly bills. Instead, it is up to them to decide how much and when they want to pay, as long as they keep their account balance above $0.00. We are a not-for-profit cooperative, and we do everything we can to provide our members with tools and resources to keep a handle on their energy use,” Turner explained.
Members can find out more about all these programs and more at the Association’s website at www.4county.org, 4-County’s Facebook page, or by calling 1-800-431-1544.