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Duke Energy provides free energy-efficient upgrades to local residents

By Andie Foley
Salisbury Post

In February, 847 families across Spencer received free energy-efficient home upgrades and education through Duke Energy’s Neighborhood Energy Saver Program. The company has plans to move this initiative into Salisbury later this year.

Lisa Parrish, government and community relations manager for Duke Energy, reports that the value of work in Spencer exceeded $138,000. Moreover, 383 families in China Grove received similar upgrades and education last year, totaling in excess of $59,000.

Benefits for residents can really add up.

“We estimate that the average person can see about a 7 percent improvement over the year on their electric bill, possibly up to $100 a year,” Parrish said. “Everybody wants more disposable income.”

The Neighborhood Energy Saver Program began in 2006 in effort to help Duke Energy customers reduce their carbon footprints. In ten years, it served more than 95,000 households and helped these customers avoid 153,000 metric tons of C02.

This amount of C02 is equivalent to the annual energy-related emissions from more than 16,000 average U.S. homes.

Duke Energy uses census and other data to identify areas best served by this initiative. Residents in these targeted areas are then offered up to $120 of free energy saving measures such as air filters, light bulbs, weather stripping, door sweeps and water saving aerators and showerheads.

Evelyn Cvechko of Spencer said she was more than happy to let Duke Energy provide these upgrades to her pristine, 57-year-old home.

“Anybody that’s going to do something for me, I appreciate it,” Cvechko says. “It helps me out a lot, because when you’re the only one that’s paying bills and your light bill comes down … every little bit helps.”

Duke Energy workers replaced all of Cvechko’s light bulbs, placed aerators on her faucets, weatherproofed her home’s exterior doors and wrapped her water heater with specialized insulation.

These workers are trained to identify and fix common sources of energy waste within the homes they service – from drafty doors to leaky toilets. Following this energy assessment and the installation of energy-efficiency measures, program participants receive valuable information regarding their home’s energy use and strategies to reduce energy costs in the future.

Duke Energy plans to serve 10,000 homes across North Carolina in 2017 through the Neighborhood Energy Saver Program. Resulting lowered electricity usage reduces the company’s need to build new power plants and helps further its own efforts to reduce its carbon footprint.

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