Wisconsin utility launches program to help people reduce their energy consumptionXcel Energy is teaming up with libraries to educate people about how they’re using electricity in their homes.
By: By Rich Kremer, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Xcel Energy is teaming up with libraries to educate people about how they’re using electricity in their homes.
We all find out how much electricity we use when the monthly utility bill shows up, then we pay up. But a program called Power Check through Xcel Energy aims to show homeowners how much energy individual appliances use before the bill comes due.
To do that, Xcel is distributing devices called power check monitors to libraries across Wisconsin to be checked out by customers. Xcel market manager Chris Dierker explains how they measure what appliances consume.
“You plug that item into the watt meter, and then you plug the watt meter into the outlet and it will give you your usage information, it will let you know how much energy you’re using, and if you leave it plugged in for a period of time it will also give you a pretty good estimate of how much money you’re spending on just that device,” he said.
Dierker says the monitors really give homeowners a picture of what they’re consuming and when: “Then you get, also, a nice idea of ways you could potentially reduce your energy because some things, surprisingly, continue to consume electricity even when they’re ‘off’.”
It may seem counterintuitive for a utility to urge its customers to use less electricity, but Dierker says it makes sense for Xcel.
“We have a finite amount of resources to generate, transmit and distribute electricity, and rather than going through the process of building a brand new power plant — which is very difficult and expensive to do — we’d really like to partner with our customers on really just maximizing the infrastructure that’s in place,” he said.
There will be 80 power check monitors available at 32 library systems in Wisconsin.