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Pilot eases costs for income-qualified customers

September 23, 2019 | Jodi Baker | energy savings, products & services
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Financial difficulties come in many forms for many people. They could be the result of a long-term illness, an unexpected car repair, low wages, unemployment or other issues.

OPPD is working to reach and help customers struggling with these issues through the Income-Qualified Energy Efficiency Program Pilot. It’s open to households with an income of up to double the federal poverty level.

“The pilot is designed to increase energy efficiency education and home upgrades for our low-income customers,” said OPPD Product Specialist Britton Gabel. “We’re hoping to increase customer access to available energy-reducing products and services through partnerships with non-profit agencies throughout our service territory.”

Expanding partnerships

Right now, OPPD has 11 such partnerships, but that number will expand as the pilot progresses. Customers who already qualify for programs at these non-profit agencies will qualify for the new pilot without having to complete a separate application process.

“The organizations we’re working with are varied. From those serving urban and rural communities,” he said. “Some are working with elderly or disabled customers. Others serve low-income families.”

“Our goal is to help these customers save energy, which will result in lower utility costs, easing their financial burden.”

Reaching customers

Gabel said OPPD hopes this pilot will reach customers it has not previously reached.

“What they’re going through is tough enough,” he said. “We want to make the application process easier for them by reaching people where they are, through programs already serving them in some way.”

Customers taking part in the pilot would receive an energy efficiency kit from OPPD, as well as a home energy audit. If the audit shows a need for improvements, OPPD will provide up to $1,000 in upgrades.

“It could be something like window or attic insulation, seals for the doors and windows, a blanket wrap for their water heater, or maybe joint foundation isulation. We would upgrade their lighting to LED. Those types of things,” Gabel said.

“But we would also look at health and safety. For instance, installing a carbon monoxide detector if needed.”

Beyond energy issues

OPPD will also look for other health and safety issues that may not be energy-related, such as foundation cracks or roof leaks, he said.

“We can refer these customers out to other agencies, which may have grant funding available to step in and help. We hope the pilot raises awareness of the resources that exist in our communities and connects those who need help with those in a position to give it.”

For more information on this or other OPPD programs, email OPPD’s Customer Care team at customerservice@oppd.com, or call them at (402) 536-4131.

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About Jodi Baker

Jodi Baker writes stories and shoots videos for The Wire. Jodi was a television news reporter before she came to work for OPPD as a media specialist in 2013. Jodi earned her degree in broadcasting from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. She's worked for news stations from her hometown of Omaha to sunny San Diego. She’s married with two bright and energetic children (a boy and a girl) and an allergy-ridden little Cairn Terrier. She and her husband enjoy catching up on some grown-up DVR time once the kiddos are asleep.

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