Newsletter Winter 2015 Final (1) (PDF)

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eco home
welcome to


City of New Bern

Public Power and Customer
Appreciation Week Wrap Up
Keep your Winter Bills in
New Bern Receives Award
and National Recognition
Toilet Tips

Volume 4

Message to our Customers:
Welcome to our newest issue of the eco@home newsletter
to support our organization’s strategic goals of improving
communications and service to our customers.
To reemphasize, eco@home focuses on practical ideas
for energy and resource conservation for the home and
small business. As the days grow shorter and the nights
grow longer, the change in seasonal weather is imminent.
Before turning the heat on to stay, it’s helpful to evaluate
energy use and take proactive steps to conserve and keep
energy use in check.
In this issue learn about some of our state and nationally
recognized community and efficiency focused initiatives
to continually strive for best practices which helps
strengthen our community and keep the cost of service to
our customers in check!
Also in this issue learn about our newly launched New
Bern CONNECTS programs – Load Management Rewards
which helps lower customer energy costs and Round Up,
a voluntary program of “neighbors helping neighbors” to
support customers with crisis assistance.
We value your feedback and suggestions for improvement.
Please email us at
or call us at 252-639-2750.
Thank you for your business!

did you

The New Bern Board of
Aldermen approved utility rate
reductions effective 7/1/2015 as
follows: electric by 3%, water by
6% and sewer by 4.5%. Effective
9/1/2015, an additional 12%
reduction was applied to
electric rates.

Contact us today for a
FREE Home Energy Audit

or you can perform your own
virtual energy audit at:
About the cover: New Bern Utility Business Office staff member Carolene
Gaskins engages an excited customer to “Spin the Power Wheel” at the
Annual Customer Appreciation Public Power Week to help communicate
ways to better manage energy consumption and costs. Carolene, a 28 year
veteran of the utility and her fellow staff members are an integral part of our
employee team who are passionate about providing great customer service.

Public Power & Customer Appreciation Week

Wrap Up
The City of New Bern’s Public Power and Customer
Appreciation Week was held from Monday, October 12th
through Thursday, October 15th this year. Customers
visiting the Utility Business Office had the chance to
participate in the “Energy Challenge” – a questionnaire
of ten energy related topics focused on educating the
everyday energy consumer about energy conservation.
Customers were rewarded by getting the opportunity to
spin the “Power Wheel”. Prizes included kits with energy
saving supplies, energy efficient light bulbs, public power
cups, mums, local vendor coupons and other goodies.
Customers had the opportunity to win credit on their
utility bill. In addition to brochures and energy saving tips,
the office also provided a number of displays for customer
fun and entertainment. Multiple City departments
participated in the festivities and local help agencies
provided information on their community support
programs for those in need.
As a highlight of the week, staff
welcomed fourth grade students
from Epiphany School of Global
Studies and Ben D. Quinn
Elementary. Approximately 120
students attended presentations
on the origin of fossil fuels, the
production of electricity and the Capt. Public Power swoops
in to discuss event activities
importance of energy conservation. with Director of Finance
Hands-on electricity experiments JR Sabatelli.
and the discussion of rock samples empowered students
to apply their knowledge and garner their scientific
interest. All kids were given the opportunity to participate
in the City’s Coloring Contest. This year, an environmental
conservation theme was added and students eagerly drew
and wrote their suggestions on protecting our planet.
The winners’ designs are slated for showcase at City Hall
and for printing on several hundred paper bags at local
Piggly Wiggly grocery stores. This campaign encourages
the community to conserve energy and acknowledge the
importance of preserving our environment and resources.

Energy Conservation Jr. Experts – Our Coloring Contest Winners.
From left to right: Ethan Nipper, Sara Milburn, and Lexy Teike.

How to Keep your

Winter Bills in Check

While there are many reasons to enjoy the cold season, make
sure your winter bills won’t give you chills. Here are some easy
energy saving tips that will help keep your bills in check:

• Set your thermostat to 68° or lower. Every degree above 68 increases your energy
use by 3% to 5%.
• Do not adjust thermostat more than 2 degrees per hour to avoid heat strips from
engaging on your heat pump.
• If you have a furnace, make sure that a programmable thermostat turns down the
heat at night and when you are away.
• Heat pumps are the most efficient way of electric heating and heat the entire house.
Avoid using space heaters or electric fireplace heaters. They are not nearly as efficient and only heat small areas.
• While fireplaces create a nice atmosphere, they lose much more heat than they produce. Only use fireplaces on mild days and
make sure the damper is fully closed when not in use.
• Check, clean or replace filters once a month. Dirty filters will restrict airflow and increase energy use.
• Clean air registers, baseboard heaters and radiators regularly and make sure they aren’t blocked by furniture or carpeting.
• Apply plastic wrap insulation as an airtight seal for drafty windows and consider using door draft stoppers at door bases.
• Use the sunshine to warm up your home for free, keep windows clean and leave drapes open during the day and closed at night.

Apply these tips, sit back, relax and enjoy the season!

try this
Use your slow cooker,
microwave, or toaster
oven to make snacks for
cold days on the couch.
You’ll use less energy
than with your stove
and stovetop.

New Bern Receives Award and National Recognition
New Bern awarded a 2015 Public Power Award of Excellence in Financial Stability from
ElectriCities, our membership organization which includes public power communities
in NC, SC and VA. The Financial Stability award recognizes customer options throughout
the billing process, including: equal payment programs, e-billing, and multiple payment
choices. This award also recognizes community partnerships and implementation of new
technology within the electric system.

New Bern recognized in the Public Power Daily trade publication for its dementia
training initiative by the American Public Power Association, a national membership
organization of more than 2,000 community owned electric utilities. By partnering with the
Eastern Carolina Council-Area Agency on Aging we were able to help address issues like dementia and
other cognitive and age related ailments among utility customers whom we interact with in our daily
course of business. Utility office and field staff received training to better understand special needs to
help older customers who may become lost, confused or may be faced with challenges in dealing with
daily life activities. This training has sparked the interest of other local businesses and government
agencies who plan to undertake similar training in the near future.

Save Money, Lower Your Deposit, and Give Back to Your Community
Load Management Rewards
The City of New Bern offers a variety of programs that may assist in achieving lower
energy costs for consumers. The City’s Load Management Rewards Program enables
customers to save money throughout the year by reducing the utility’s demand for
electricity. Customers are credited rewards of up to $110/year for participating in
the program. Load Management Rewards may also allow a deposit reduction for
qualified customers.

Round Up Program
With the support of the Board of Aldermen, the City initiated New Bern CONNECTS to
help our neighbors in need in a collaborative initiative with RCS – Religious Community
Services. This voluntary program is funded by donations and helps New Bern utility
customers pay their bills when struggling with financial emergencies. Each month
your New Bern utility bill “rounds up” to the next highest dollar. For example, if your
bill one month is $92.75, the bill would be automatically rounded up to $93.

For additional information and applications, please visit


Toilet Tips
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that toilets account for close to 30 percent of an
average home’s indoor water use. The higher your water consumption, the higher your charges will be for
both water and sewer. Minimize toilet use with these tips:

Toilet leaks are often hard to detect. To catch these sneaky water wasters, simply add a few drops of food coloring
or a dye tablet to the tank and avoid flushing. If color appears in the bowl within 15 to 30 minutes, you’ll want to
repair it immediately. (One common culprit and an easy inexpensive repair is a faulty flapper.)

Newer water-conserving toilets use no more than 1.6 gallons per flush. Look for models
with the EPA’s “WaterSense” label.
These high-performance, high-efficiency toilets can slash water use by as much as 60%.


Thwart all the extra water that gets flushed down the toilet. Rinse a used half-gallon
juice jug, add a couple of inches of sand or pebbles, and fill the rest of the jug with
water. Screw on the lid, flush the toilet, and place the jug in the tank away from working
parts. Displacing just that half-gallon of water can save you water with every flush.

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