By Jack Money
Energy efficiency improvements and “honey-do” list eliminations work together as part of Oklahoma Gas & Electric Co.’s Silver Energy Sweep initiative.
The initiative recently helped 18 utility customers who are senior adults in south Oklahoma City, as a team of contractors and a group of 75 volunteers who work for the utility visited their homes to caulk windows and doors, seal air ducts, insulate attics and install energy-saving LED light bulbs.
The utility added the initiative to energy conservation services it already offers through its weatherization program, which seeks to help both qualified customers and the utility conserve energy.
Further, it actively seeks out senior adults who could use the help.
“This is something we started over the past summer,” said Toney Cooper, manager of the utility’s weatherization program, who noted the utility partnered with various nonprofits initially to offer the initiative in the Muskogee area.
He said the initiative’s goal is to tighten up homes to keep energy in and weather out, offering standard weatherization improvements (a value of up to $3,000) at no cost to homeowners, provided their annual income isn’t $60,000 or more.
“Our goal is to make it a year-round program that seeks to make the quality of life a lot more comfortable for seniors within the state of Oklahoma,” he said.
Cooper said the utility became interested in finding senior adults who could benefit from the services because of their vulnerability to heat and cold.
The utility focused on south Oklahoma City in 2019 because recent census data showed there were a considerable number of older residents there who could qualify for the assistance, Cooper said.
The utility found interested homeowners to participate through marketing efforts it conducted at a senior wellness center and through a watch party for a playoff game that it held with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
More than 185 utility customers signed up for the help, with improvements made at 170 of those customers’ homes already.
Customers were happy to get the improvements to lower their utility bills.
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