FPL gives Okeechobee homes an energy makeover

OKEECHOBEE — Florida Power & Light (FPL) representatives traveled around Okeechobee on May 9 giving residents energy efficient home makeovers in attempt to help homeowners save money on their power bills during the coming summer months.

The ‘Power to Save’ program was offered to FPL customers who responded to a flier that was distributed asking if they would like to save money on their energy bills. Over 40 households in Okeechobee requested to take part in the program.

FPL senior field representative Richard Claudio (left) and Okeechobee resident Lynslee Blackman (right) examine the air filter taken out of Mrs. Blackman’s A/C unit. FPL recommends changing your air filter every three months, and more often if you have pets. Photo by Richard Marion.

Okeechobee resident Lynslee Blackman was one of the locals who signed up.

“I got the brochure in the mail and read that the program could help save money on my electric bills,” explained Mrs. Blackman. “That caught my attention. It seems like our power bills were always going up and we could never figure out why. I was able to learn a lot today.”

The program promised an estimated $150 in annual savings, and included FPL representatives conducting A/C unit inspections, caulking and weather stripping, water heater pipe-wrap installations and limited duct system repair.

FPL senior field representative Richard Claudio was responsible for performing Mrs. Blackman’s home energy check up.

FPL senior field representative Richard Claudio (left) and Okeechobee resident Lynslee Blackman (right) compare a normal shower head to a newer low-flow shower head. Low-flow shower heads can decrease water consumption by 40 percent or more. Photo by Richard Marion.

“The Power to Save program is our way of helping the community by installing measures that will save them money,” said Mr. Claudio. “That’s what this is all about.”

Claudio, who has worked for FPL for close to 40 years, reports that the company also offers rebates to customers who buy an energy efficient air conditioning unit or for adding FPL recommended levels of ceiling insulation.

“One money saving tip I can recommend to home owners who have a pool is to install a variable speed pool pump,” Mr. Claudio suggested. “They’re 80 percent more efficient, so your cost of running the pump can go from $60 down to $18 for the month.”

Another easy way to save money is by setting your thermostat to 78 degrees this summer, and 82 degrees while you’re away from your house. According to the U.S. Department of Energy you can save as much as 10 percent a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7 or 10 degrees for 8 hours a day from its normal setting.

FPL also hosted a free community barbecue at the Okeechobee County Civic Center, which featured representatives from the Economic Opportunities Council of Indian River County, Okeechobee Senior Services, American Red Cross – Florida’s Coast to Heartland Chapter, CASTLE Okeechobee and United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee counties.

“The most important things you can change are your habits,” Mr. Claudio said. “If you’re able to change your habits, by something like raising the temperature on the thermostat, those are the things that are going to impact your bill right away.”

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