A few months ago, I swallowed my pride and applied for the low-income program with my power company. I shoved it to the side of my mind, until I got a call a few weeks ago that I had been accepted, and would now be charged reduced rates. I was relieved, but wondered why it required a phone call, until the woman continued that with entrance into the program, I was entitled to a free home energy assessment. I like free, I like saving money and I like things that make me more environmentally friendly, so I said yes.
Y’all, it was awesome. I’ve been slowly replacing my regular light bulbs with CFLs as they burn out, but they went through and replaced them all. Then, since CFLs aren’t very pretty, they replaced three of my light fixtures that had exposed bulbs with ones that covered the bulbs, and conveniently, matched the ones already in my house. My water heater got a new insulating blanket, new weather stripping for my doors and windows, and new insulation around the exhaust for my furnace and stove vents. They even replaced my showerhead with a handheld low flow version that has multiple massage settings. And, had my refrigerator been old enough, they would have replaced it.
They also gave me some tips for how to reduce energy further: shorter showers and wash clothes in cold water (which I already do), clean refrigerator coils and replace my furnace filter (which are now on my to do list!).
I admit, I was really nervous to admit to perfect strangers that things were tight financially, but they were so professional and matter of fact that I never felt like a failure. And, now my power bill will be reduced two fold: lower rates and lower usage.