The $12,000 Birthday Present I Got From Our Power Company

Back in late December, on my birthday in fact, I opened the mailbox to discover a post card from Duke Energy Progress, our power company. The card read

Stop rinsing money down the drain! Get a FREE Save Energy and Water Kit delivered to your door,

Save up to $120 each year.

Okay, this seemed too good to be true. Nevertheless, I filled out the return car and mailed it in the next day.

Now, to a self-described “finance guy,” a $120 gift every year sounds like a perpetuity. Without getting too technical, the basic perpetuity pricing model calculates the amount of money you would have to invest to get a reliable return of $120 per year at the current interest rate.

In rough numbers, our credit union pays 1.0% on a money market account, so to get a safe and reliable return at $120 per year, you would have to invest $12,000.

Yep! Looked at from the right perspective, our power company gave me a $12,000 birthday present!

The $12,000 Birthday Present Arrives

Are You Talking (3)

The box arrived in mid January. I eagerly opened the box to find 2 low flow shower heads, 4 sink aerators and a roll of insulation tape for the water pipe.

I installed the shower heads and aerators the same day. It took all of an hour.

We have an adjustable aerator on the kitchen sink, so now we can control the water flow down to 1/2 gallon per minute.

We have shower heads that flow much slower and still get us clean with reasonable water pressure.

We have aerators for the the bathroom sinks. In addition to using less water, our daughter makes a little less mess as she washes her hands and brushes her teeth.

In every plumbed room in the house, we should now use less hot water, one of the most expensive uses of power in our house.

I do still need to put the hot water pipe insulation. After all, our hot water heater is in the unheated crawl space, and so some extra insulation would help keep the heat in and costs down. But that very efficacy is why I also have been dragging my feet on that task a little. It’s cold down there in January!

It’s on the to-do list. Maybe as it warms up in the afternoons this week I’ll tackle it.

Freebies from the Power Company

In the past, we’ve taken advantage of discounted fluorescent and LED light bulbs offered in partnership between area retailers and the power company. We also know that there are a number of rebates available for various power saving services like putting in insulation or solar panels…if you use a participating contractor (I’m more of a Do It Yourself kinda guy.)

Don’t ignore the power of working with your power company to save money. I’ve seen programs where power companies offer discounts on energy efficient appliances. programmable thermostats, and furnace maintenance. I’ve seen power companies offer home energy audits and a ton of money saving tips and tricks. I’ve seen programs where you can pay a lot less to load shift your usage.

This is our first freebie from the power company, and I recommend checking out your local power company to see if they have any programs you can use to save money on power. For a money outlay of zero dollars and very little effort, we should shave a little off of our power bill each month by using less hot water. All it took was a few minutes to fill out a postcard and mail it back.

You never know, you might end up with a perpetuity of your own.

Thanks Duke Energy Progress! I didn’t expect anything from you at all except reliable power, much less a $12,000 birthday present!

Have you checked out the freebies and discounts from your power company or other utilities? What’s the best one you’ve found?


6 thoughts on “The $12,000 Birthday Present I Got From Our Power Company

    • Hey Brian,

      Recently had a contractor stop by for an estimate, and he suggested a higher efficiency heat pump and all new “energy efficient” windows! We will have to stay with the more cost effective incremental changes!

      We “blew in” about 4″ of insulation in our attic before we moved into our current house. Yes, I did it myself in June in North Carolina. My recommendation is to insulate the attic when it is cool! Grins!

      My next “big” (Do it yourself) energy project is to install a “Vent Ridge” on the roof.
      Of course, I’ll wait until spring, when its warmer on the roof! The “To Do List” keeps getting longer!

      Thanks for the comment,

      Jon J.

  1. Happy birthday! Though I can’t be as generous as your power company…

    I love it when we get free stuff to help us save energy. We have a showerhead we love in our bathroom. But the main one’s showerhead is a low-flow one courtesy of the City of Phoenix. We also scooped up a bunch of LED bulbs when they were discounted at Costco through some sort of plan. At this rate, it’s going to take us years to use them all, but they were ridiculously cheap!
    Abigail @ipickuppennies recently posted…Make money off Valentine’s DayMy Profile

    • Hi Abigail,

      Thanks for the birthday wish! Yeah, I love those energy savings changes. Got my first
      low wattage fluorescent bulb about 17 years ago. As I recall, it was a Phillips 11 watt bulb, and I paid $12 for it! Grins! And it lasted for about 8 years….

      The low-flow showerhead is working well, and we don’t notice the flow reducers on the bathroom sinks. The flow reducer on the kitchen sink is adjustable, so the “temptation” is to adjust to the 2 gallon per minute (gpm) position instead of the .5 gpm. Have to remember to always adjust back down to the .5 gpm position.

      Thanks for the comment,

      Jon J.

  2. Belated happy birthday, Jon! It’s always nice to get unexpected gifts. My mother-in-law recently qualified for a free utility company program where they came to her house, performed an inspection, added insulation and weatherstripping, plus gave her a free gift card for participating! It’s always worth checking out what programs your local utility company offers so you can make the most of them.
    Gary @ Super Saving Tips recently posted…Take Advantage of These Amazing Shopping Bargains for FebruaryMy Profile

    • Hey Gary,

      Those incremental energy savings can really add up! We were planning on purchasing these items as part of our energy savings plan. So it was great to get them “gift packaged.”

      Hope to have a “future” article out soon called: “Tale of Two Meters!” We made a series of changes to our “old house” and reduced the electrical bill and the gas bill
      so significantly that both utility companies replaced the meters! No kidding!
      Thanks for the comment,

      Jon J.

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