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Energy news from Omaha Public Power District


Stay cool, conserve energy this summer

June 21, 2023 | Julie Wasson | energy efficiency, products & services, tips, weather
conserve energy

Summer officially begins this week, and with it comes the hot weather typical to Nebraska this time of year.

OPPD offers programs that will help you conserve energy and save money, while keeping your home comfortable over the next few months.

Cool Smart Program

OPPD’s Cool Smart Program is an easy way to reduce your electricity bill. Here’s how it works:

  • OPPD attaches a free small device to your home’s exterior near your AC or heat pump. The device runs your AC or heat pump in 15-minute intervals during peak energy use times, over a span of less than 3 hours.
  • When you sign up for Cool Smart, you’ll get a one-time $30 bill credit plus an additional $20 annual credit, in September, every year you participate.

Smart Thermostat Program

OPPD’s Smart Thermostat Program lets you enjoy effortless energy savings year-round, while helping the utility make adjustments to ease demand on the system during peak usage periods.

To participate in the program and receive $75 credit on your bill, follow these steps:

  • Have an eligible smart thermostat model that is continuously connected to Wi-Fi
  • Have and maintain a working central air conditioner, heat pump or geothermal system
  • Have an active account with a qualified thermostat manufacturer and have the thermostat linked to that account
  • Agree to the program terms and conditions
  • Remain enrolled for 12 months or risk forfeit of credits

Once you’re enrolled in Smart Thermostat, here’s what you can expect when the utility initiates a load control event:

  • Before each event, you’ll get a proactive notification on your thermostat and app.
  • Events will occur up to 15 days per year, between May-October excluding holidays.
  • Events will occur only on weekdays between noon and 9 p.m. and last no more than 4 hours.
  • Only one event per day, and there will never be more than three events in a week.
  • Your smart thermostat may automatically adjust temperatures before and during an event to balance comfort and energy savings. If it gets too warm, you can manually adjust the temperature at any time.

Note: If you’re already in the OPPD’s Cool Smart program, you need to email customer service at or call 402-536-4131 to cancel enrollment in Cool Smart before enrolling in the Smart Thermostat Program.

HVAC Tune-up Program

OPPD is also offering an HVAC Tune-up Program this summer. As part of the program, you can earn a rebate of $25 just for having regular maintenance performed by a certified HVAC contractor. It’s a simple process:

  • Schedule a tuneup with an HVAC contractor.
  • Download and provide your technician with a copy of OPPD’s eight-point tuneup checklist. Your technician will complete and sign the tuneup checklist.
  • Submit your documents and complete the rebate application on our online portal.
  • Once your paperwork is accepted, you’ll receive your rebate within 60 days. There are 2,000 rebates available through the end of the year.

With routine tune-ups and maintenance, your HVAC system will help you conserve energy by operating more efficiently and will last longer, reducing the likelihood of costly repairs or replacement.

Steps you can take yourself

Even minor changes or fixes here and there can make your home more energy efficient and comfortable while saving you money. The tips below can help you keep your home in good working order.

Inside your home

  • Change your HVAC system’s air filter on a regular basis, including when switching from using your furnace to using your air conditioner. Your filter collects dust and debris, and a dirty filter can reduce your system’s energy efficiency and could cause other, more expensive problems. A dirty filter also reduces the air quality in the home, which is a health issue.
  • Seal any of the ductwork you can reach or see in the basement. Properly sealed ductwork can reduce air leakage into the basement or unconditioned spaces and help you conserve energy; that kind of leakage reduces the efficiency of your system.
  • Use fans to help you stay cool. Instead of setting your thermostat to 65 when it gets really hot outside, set it at 68 or higher and use a fan to move cool air around your home. Fans help cool us off by creating a windchill effect, and they use far less energy than your air conditioner. Be sure to only run fans in rooms that are in use.

Outside your home

  • Evaluate your air-conditioning unit periodically. Remove any leaves, sticks and other debris from around the unit, and make sure the panels are in good shape.
  • Give your windows a good look. Be sure the caulk around each pane is in good shape, look for signs of leaks, and repair or replace any screens that show signs of damage.
  • If have don’t already have trees that provide shade to your home, planting some can both beautify your home and help you conserve energy and save money. But you must plant the right trees and other landscaping in the right place.
    • For example, a well-planned landscape can reduce an unshaded home’s air-conditioning costs by 15% to 50% percent. If you don’t exactly have a green thumb, you can visit the OPPD Arboretum to see dozens of trees and shrubs that can beautify your property and save you money.




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About Julie Wasson

Julie Wasson is the brand journalism strategist at Omaha Public Power District and the editor of The Wire. She has more than 25 years of print journalism and social media experience, including two stints at the Omaha World-Herald.

View all posts by Julie Wasson >

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