Starkville Utilities Earns TVA Award for Home Energy Workshops

Residential customers learned how to reduce energy use and save money

Efforts by Starkville Utilities to help customers improve home energy efficiency are earning the utility recognition as one of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s EnergyRight Top Performer Award winners.

Last year, Starkville Utilities helped residential customers save 12,586 kilowatt-hours of electricity by offering free Home Energy Workshops, earning second place in the EnergyRight Residential Top Performer category out of TVA’s field of 153 local power companies.

“Showing residents how to make their homes more energy efficient is an important part of the services we provide for customers and the community,” said Eileen Hill, executive administrative assistant and manager of Starkville Utilities’ EnergyRight program. “We plan to offer more workshops in the future that focus on managing energy use and saving money.”

TVA recognized Starkville Utilities and other Mississippi awardees during a recent Top Performer luncheon in Starkville.

In 2021 and early 2022, Starkville Utilities partnered with the J.L. King Center and the Starkville Oktibbeha School District Discovery Center to present four Home Energy Workshops for 50 local residents.

“Our workshops are very hands-on and focus on weatherstripping, insulation, HVAC maintenance and lighting management,” said Hill, who is a certified EnergyRight presenter. “It’s a very interactive program about home-energy basics with opportunities for customers to ask questions and provide input.”

In addition to learning do-it-yourself strategies to lower energy use, workshop participants received free energy-saving “starter kits” containing foam spray, weatherstripping and other products to improve efficiency. Each kit was valued at $25.

Workshops also are available for elementary and high school students to cover the basics of electricity and steps they can take to save energy. Last year, Hill presented a two-day workshop for 150 children enrolled in the Skate Odyssey After School Program.

Hill tailors workshops for the season in which they’re held to make the information as relevant and useful as possible, incorporating tips that benefit homeowners and renters alike. The following are examples of summertime strategies that can help customers reduce cooling bills:

  • Operate thermostats efficiently. Keep your house warmer than normal when you’re away and lower the thermostat only when you are home. Setting your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you return doesn’t cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and unnecessary expense.
  • Keep your cooling system running efficiently. Schedule regular maintenance. Vacuum return vents regularly to remove dust buildup and change filters on time.
  • Use fans and other ventilation strategies. A ceiling fan allows you to raise the thermostat setting about 4°F with no reduction in comfort. Turn off ceiling fans when you leave the room; fans cool people, not rooms, by creating a wind chill effect.
  • Keep cold air inside and hot air outside. Seal cracks and openings to prevent warm air from leaking into your home and cold air from escaping. Add caulk or weatherstripping to seal leaky doors and windows.
  • Don't heat your home with appliances and lighting. On hot days, avoid using the oven; use a microwave, cook on the stove, or grill outside. Install efficient lighting that runs cooler.

Through its EnergyRight partnership with TVA, Starkville Utilities offers several energy-saving incentives and solutions for residential customers, including free home energy audits.

“As temperatures continue rising along with fuel prices, we’re encouraging customers to learn about the many ways that the EnergyRight program can help them gain more control over monthly energy expenses,” Hill said.

Starkville Utilities will soon announce details about a Home Energy Workshop in October in the company’s new Operations Center at 605 Highway 182 East. In the meantime, those interested in hosting or attending a future Home Energy Workshop are encouraged to contact Starkville Utilities at 662-323-3133.

Starkville Utilities is a public utility serving 14,000 residences, businesses and industries in Starkville, Mississippi as well as Mississippi State University. Its mission is to supply safe, reliable, and cost-effective electric and water service of superior quality and value that improves the lives of its customers.

We are a Water and Electric Utilities Company in Starkville