Statewide Initiative Supports Energy Conservation
A free program called Energizing Indiana has emerged out of the Statehouse to potentially reach more than two million Indiana residents, businesses, schools and nonprofit organizations.
The program provides rebates, information, and installations that not only save money but also combat energy waste.
“Several years ago, the (Indiana) Utility Regulatory Commission decided that they wanted to see a more consistent approach to energy efficiency programs,” Bob Nuss, executive director of Energizing Indiana, says. “So they created an initiative with the five large utility companies and the Indiana Municipal Power Agency.”
In the fall of 2011, Bob Nuss and GoodCents, a demand-side utility solutions company, were selected to bring the Energizing Indiana team together. Since then, Nuss and his group have been working to raise awareness and invite participation in the Energizing Indiana project.
Over 45,000 fifth-grade and sixth-grade children across the state have already taken Indiana-approved science curriculum that teaches students how to spot and stop waste. The students are given compact fluorescent light bulbs, faucet aerators, and low-flow showerheads.
“Our goal is to reach 48,000 homes by the end of the year,” Nuss says.
Using customer dollars, the companies (Energy heavyweights Duke Energy, Indiana Michigan Power, Indiana Municipal Power Agency, Indianapolis Power and Light Company, NIPSCO and Vectren) are giving back to their patrons on an immense scale. Participating energy companies have had conservation programs included in customers’ bills, and now those customers have an opportunity to reap those benefits.
“Approximately 80 percent of utilities customers in the state are on utilities that are participating in the program that covers all customer classes,” Nuss says.
Five Cost Free Programs
Energizing Indiana provides five cost-free programs for residential customers or businesses.
One program has benefited over 300 businesses with commercial and industrial rebate incentives that reward businesses that have invested in efficient heating, cooling, lighting, and major appliances.
The remaining programs assess utility usage in homes, streamlining residential energy consumption and home weatherization efforts.
With the goal to service 48,000 homes, Energizing Indiana has been proactive in engaging nonprofit organizations. According to Jessica Nuss, one of seven community outreach coordinators, the group enrolled 1,000 homes in April. (Editor’s note: Jessica Nuss is Bob Nuss’ daughter.)
Energy won’t last forever
“This program is unlike any other,” says Bishop Carl J. Mimms III, 48, who has served at The Freedom Tabernacle of Praise for the past nine years. “It’s a program that really helps people, and I like helping people and that appealed to me.”
Mimms learned of Energizing Indiana at a monthly Inter-denominational Minister Alliance meeting.
“For every person who takes part in the Energizing Indiana program, we donate $25 to the nonprofit,” Jessica Nuss explains.
The amount of funding that the nonprofit organization earns grows along with the demand.
“Our first check was fifty dollars, because we signed up only two people when we began,” Mimms says. “Our second check is $675, and it’s going to keep increasing because we are constantly getting people to sign up for the service.”
The Freedom Tabernacle of Praise is comprised of people living on fixed income, according to Mimms. He says his congregation feels they are able to give more to the church by participating in the program.
“I would advise everyone to become a part of this program,” Elice Stowers, a 56-year-old stay at home mother and wife who has been with The Freedom Tabernacle for four years, says.
Beyond giving Stowers nine efficient fluorescent light bulbs and replacing her faucet heads, Energizing Indiana gave her an insight into which appliances were driving up her energy bill.
“It was informative. Had [the Energizing Indiana representative] not come in, I wouldn’t have known about the refrigerator,” Stowers says. “Then to note what was needed around our house; I’m an older lady, I would have never got up on a ladder and looked into the attic to see that we needed more insulation.”
If her family qualifies, Stowers may also be able to take advantage of the Income Qualified Weatherization program Energizing Indiana provides.
People are much more likely to trust their pastor rather than a stranger, Jessica Nuss notes.
If you are interested in utilizing the Energizing Indiana initiative, you can call 1-888-446-7750 or visit their website here.