Town Talk: New Ulm to celebrate Public Power Week

The New Ulm Public Utilities Commission (PUC) will be celebrating Public Power Week Oct. 6 through the 12th along with the American Public Power Association (APPA) and more than 2,000 other community-owned, not-for-profit electric utilities that collectively provide electricity to 49 million Americans.

To mark this week, the PUC is focusing on ways residents can increase energy efficiency in their homes while caring for the environment. Here are some tips to save on electric bills:

Plug energy leaks with weather stripping and caulking, and be sure your house is properly insulated. You can save up to 20% on heating/cooling bills and make your home more comfortable.

Clean or change filters regularly. A dirty furnace or air conditioning filter will slow airflow and make the system work harder to keep you warm or cool.

Install a programmable thermostat to save up to 10% on cooling and heating costs.

Wash clothes in cold water. Heating the water in a washer uses 90% of the energy used to wash clothes. According to Energy Star, by switching to cold water, you can save $30-$40 every year.

Replace incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient LED light bulbs to reduce energy use by as much as 80%.

Change out older, inefficient furnaces, air conditioners and appliances with energy efficient units.

Turn off all lights, appliances and electronics not in use. Better still, use a power strip and turn off devices and lights that are not in use to cut standby power, to save $100 a year on your electric bill.

“We know that using energy wisely to lower monthly electric bills is important to New Ulm residents,” said Larry Botten, Electric Distribution Department Supervisor. “While we are sharing these tips during Public Power Week, we hope our community will keep an eye on energy efficiency all year round.”

Drive Up and Sign Up event on Tuesday at the PUC

On Tuesday, October 8, from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., the PUC will be hosting a Drive Up and Sign Up event in front of its building on the corner of 1st North and German streets. PUC customers are invited to drive up or walk up for coffee, lemonade and treats, and to sign up to win an Energy Star mini refrigerator. There is no need to leave your vehicle. We hope all our customers will join us in celebrating Public Power Week!

New Ulm Public Utilities offers a variety of rebate programs to help you use energy wisely. For more information and forms, contact the PUC at 507-233-2110, Ext. 401, or visit us online at www.nupuc.com.